Miller-Driscoll Building Committee deals with 'numerous issues'

Although the Miller-Driscoll Building Committee is “on track” with timing, said Glenn Hemmerle, education board member and representative on the committee, “there are numerous issues that we are in the process of dealing with right now.”

During the Board of Education’s Oct. 23 meeting, Mr. Hemmerle provided an update on the status of the recently approved school renovation project, which passed by a mere 27 votes last month.

“I’d like to thank everyone for getting the bond approval,” said Mr. Hemmerle. “It was a close call but it’s done and we are moving forward.”

Mr. Hemmerle said there are many state approvals the building committee needs and a lot of work being done on Miller-Driscoll.

“There’s a laundry list of things that are in the process right now,” he said.

A laser survey of the school’s exterior will be done to make sure the extensions to the building will meet the way they’re supposed to, and a geological survey is also under way.

Mr. Hemmerle said the building committee made a commitment at the public meeting on Sept. 23 and is in the process of selecting a firm to conduct testing for hazardous materials, including polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).

“We’ll do that testing now, even though we don’t have to get to it until after we start construction,” Mr. Hemmerle told the board.

“We want to get a handle on what may be there or may not be there. We will do whatever we need to do to remedy those problems — construction or not.”

The building committee is in the process of “entertaining proposals” for a construction manager, as well as a commissioning agent, and must get approvals from the state Department of Transportation.

“The road that runs in front — Wolfpit — is a state road,” Mr. Hemmerle said, “so we can’t do anything to alter access to that road without the state Department of Transportation’s approval.”

Mr. Hemmerle said the Environmental Protection Agency must be brought in to “make sure we meet all the requirements there.”

“They’re all requirements for approvals and permissions before we even begin,” said Mr. Hemmerle, adding that Tai Soo Kim is in the process of starting on the project’s detail drawings.

As the project moves forward with more detailed and finalized plans, Mr. Hemmerle said, the building committee is looking for areas where costs can be saved, “without sacrificing the goals and objectives” of the project.

“To find those and make sure we take advantage of those,” he said, “that is at the forefront on every one of the building committee members’ minds — the options that we have and things we can do.”