The so-called “new normal” experienced by local students and faculty members this fall is taking on an added dimension at the Burrell Elementary School.
That’s because work crews laboring through the coronavirus pandemic have wrapped up the first phase of a long-awaited building renovation and expansion project at the East Foxboro school building.
Improvements included in the recently-completed Phase I includes two building additions, new electrical services and a new heating plant. The additions include new pre-kindergarten classroom space and a new gymnasium that is being used as temporary classrooms and swing space while permanent classrooms are renovated in Phases 2 and 3.
The contract was awarded to CTA Construction Managers, a Waltham-based firm which has completed more than 70 municipal building projects in Massachusetts over the past two decades.
Along with their colleagues at Foxboro’s other four schools, Burrell teachers had returned to work at the renovated facility at the end of August, with students returning on Sept. 14 — a delay of two weeks from the original back-to-school date.
While stressing the building would have been ready for occupancy in time for the original pre-Labor Day return to classes, school Business Administrator William Yukna this week said the added two weeks provided extra breathing room to prepare.
Paul DuRoss, one of the principals with CTA Construction Managers, said the COVID-19 pandemic has been hard on students, parents and educators.
“It is gratifying for us to deliver Phase I of this project and see students return to class safely under the community’s hybrid learning plan,” DuRoss said in a prepared statement. “The project design and phasing plans we are working with creatively use the new and existing spaces to allow construction to continue while maintaining a high-learning environment.”
In addition to the pre-K space and new gymnasium, project plans call for a new computer lab and media center, along with new music and art spaces. Replacement windows and roofing also will be added.
The project’s second and third phases are scheduled to be completed by August 2021.
The Mass. School Building Authority awarded the town a $14.7 million grant to renovate the Burrell School. The balance of the total project budget, $25.9 million, is being paid by local taxpayers.