By K.B. Sherman, Community Reporter
Shrewsbury – The new Sherwood Middle School is anticipated to be completed under budget and “fully wired for smart technology,” according to the Board of Selectmen.
Several of the selectmen, including Chair Maurice DePalo, Henry Fitzgerald and Moira Miller, held an informal “round table” discussion Sept. 6 at the site of the new school.? The purpose was to introduce the town to the new middle school, which will house approximately 900 fifth- and sixth-grade students beginning next year.
“This is going to be a “Smart School,”” Fitzgerald said. “Each student will be given an iPad by the school and they will use these electronic devices to interface with SmartBoards that will line the classroom walls.”
Walter Kincaid, senior project manager for the Gilbane Construction Company, noted that construction of the new 130,000-square-foot school began in 2011 after a three-year lead-in. The final cost will be between $41 million to $42.3 million, after an initial cost estimate of $43.9 million to $47.3 million. Under an agreement with the Massachusetts School Building Authority, the state will pick up approximately $22 million of the overall tab.
Savings were realized, according to DePalo, by new rules instituted under the state's Chapter 149A legislation, which now allows for formerly non-commercial construction companies to bid on public projects like schools.
The current middle school was built in the 1960s, and besides being too small for today's student load, does not meet minimum educational standards under current federal law, officials said. Next year the current Sherwood Middle School will be demolished and new parking spaces in that space finalized.
As an energy-saving measure, a building-wide dehumidifier will be used to keep the spaces comfortable as well.
After the roundtable discussion, the selectmen toured the new building with a camera crew; the video will be made available to town residents on public access TV.