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School Committee Votes to Open Wellington on Schedule

Sept. 7 opening to welcome nearly 600 students.

Now the biggest decision is who gets to cut the ribbon.

Yesterday, Wednesday, Aug. 11, the accepted the recommendation of interim to open the new on Sept. 7, the opening day of the school year.

"We're ready to go," said Kingston.

The new Wellington occupies 84,000 square feet housing 575 students from kindergarten to fourth grade with five classrooms per grade, plus special-needs space.

The unanimous decision by the depleted committee – earlier in the day – came a day after the to approve opening the building's doors on the scheduled first day of the school year.

While work will continue and some portions of the building not complete on the 7th – the roof screening to hide heating and cooling systems as well as plantings – Mark Haley, chairman of the Building Committee, believes that the school remains on schedule to receive a temporary certificate of occupancy from the town on Aug. 19. 

While some members of the building committee voted to open the school on Oct. 11 so the school could be closer to "100 percent" ready, Kingston said it takes an entire year "to break in a building." 

"It's a temporary occupancy certificate because there will be glitches," he said. Haley noted that while systems "will work, they will need to be adjusted." In addition, the heating system can only be tested when the outside temperature goes below a certain level, usually sometime in October. 

Haley said that after the school year begins, any work will be done after 6 p.m. and those workers on site will need ID badges to enter the school.

But in the view of Kingston, who, as superintendent of the Chelsea public schools, oversaw the opening of six new buildings at one time, said "at this hour, on this day" the students – kindergarten to fourth grade – will be in the new school located at 121 Orchard St. on Sept. 7.

Kingston said his recommendation will also prevent pupils, teachers and staff from needing to move from the modular units in the Belmont High School parking lot where the school was temporarily located.

For the building contractor, the majority of its work has been completed. While there are 150 workers in the building this week, the numbers will dwindle so that by the opening, "we are scheduled to only have people doing cleaning," said Dan Lanneville, Senior Project Manager for Skanska, the building contractor.

According to Haley, next week's schedule is for the building to be inspected by the fire department, state electrical and plumbing review and then get ready for the town's inspection on Aug. 19. The contractor will then have three weeks to make any corrections, "but there will be nothing we can't do," said Haley.

Furnishing and equipment has been arriving on site since the beginning of last week with workers installing 'smart' boards, said Laurie Graham, School Committee chairwoman.  

With a certificate in hand, books and other material will be moved on Monday, Aug. 22 and teachers arriving on Aug. 29. 

Bonnie Friedman August 12, 2011 at 04:01 AM
Great News! Congratulations!

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