By Tina Comeau
School may be out for the summer but construction of Yarmouth’s new high school gets underway this week.
Maxim 2000 Inc. was the successful bidder to be the general contractor for the project. The construction firm, which has offices in Dartmouth and Saint John, N.B., submitted a bid of $20,597,000.
There was not a lot of variance between most of the six bids that were submitted during the tender process. The highest bid was $22,277,408.
Equipment began moving onto the Forest Street site last week and Adam Tiller, the project manager, says this week the work will begin.
“We’re getting started with the site work, getting the building footprint prepped so that we can get started on the exterior walls,” says Tiller, saying the ultimate goal is to get as much work done before the winter weather sets in.
“It’s a tilt-up construction so you probably won’t see a whole lot of activity and then the next day you’ll come by and you may see half a building there,” he explains.
The two-storey school is approximately 110,000-square-feet. It was announced by the former Conservative government in the spring of 2008.
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A school steering committee made up of school representatives and school board staff has been working with the government and the architect, WHW Architects, to ready the project for construction.
Tenders for the construction closed in late June and the tender was awarded on July 16.
When the school was first announced, the government had indicated the goal was for a September 2011 opening. But over the past year it became evident that target cannot be reached and instead the aim is for a January 2012 opening.
At a meeting last month, members of the Tri-County Regional School Board questioned whether this target will be met. A staff member said the board will know more as the project proceeds.
In anticipation of the new school, in April the school board reconfigured Maple Grove and Yarmouth Junior High schools starting this September, with Maple Grove becoming a Grade 7 and 8 school and Yarmouth Junior High housing only Grade 9 students.
When the new high school opens, it will house students in Grades 9-12.
Maxim 2000 Inc. says it will be working with Hurlburt Construction of Yarmouth during the construction of the new school, and they also hope to line up other local subcontractors to carry out work.
Asked how many people will be employed during the construction, Tiller says that’s a difficult question to answer as the numbers will vary as different trades are needed.
“Once the building gets started and you have your mechanical and electrical, your drywall, painting, we would see up to 80 people on site at any given time,” he says. “But a lot of people will be in and out of that site over the course of the job.”
Maxim 2000 has three other school construction projects underway in Sydney, Bedford and Bridgewater.
“We are well aware of the requirements of the school board,” Tiller says about the Yarmouth project. “Looking at the drawings, it’s going to be a beautiful school, no doubt about that.”
NOTE: Included with this story are conceptual drawings by the firm WHW Architects that depict what the new Yarmouth high school will look like.