South Portland school board awards $108K in contracts

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SOUTH PORTLAND — It may still be three years until a renovated South Portland High School opens its doors for classes, but deals are already being made with companies to be involved in the construction project.

On Monday, the school board approved a nearly $79,000 deal with Yarmouth-based Investment Engineering to act as commissioning agents for the renovation. The firm was one of four that applied, and was the low bidder.

Commissioning agents are responsible for double-checking the quality of work done in a construction project and ensuring the work meets the standards set forth in the design and required by law.

Since the $41.5 million plan was approved last year, South Portland also has pulled in a design firm, Harriman Associates of Portland, and a technology consultant, EdVance of Andover, Mass., to work on the renovation. Work is tentatively slated to be complete by summer 2015.

“We’re on target,” said School Board Chairman Ralph Baxter Jr., who also sits on the SPHS Building Committee. “In the next five or six weeks, (construction will) be going out to bid. I’m feeling good. There’s a lot that needs to go on before we go out to bid, but we’re right on schedule.”

The school is expected to expand by 50 percent, from about 200,000 square feet to 300,000 square feet, and will include a variety of energy-efficient features.

The plan calls for demolition of the school’s annex, which will be rebuilt so that it connects the school in a circular pattern that will create a courtyard and allow students to move through the building without having to go outside.

Last year, the New England Association of Schools and Colleges said the school’s accreditation was in jeopardy thanks to what it described as the general structural decay of the school, noncompliance with building and handicapped accessibility codes, poor heating and ventilation systems, outdated electrical systems, leaky roofs and toilets, and a lack of hot water in the restrooms.

Failure to address these issues could have landed the school on probation with accreditation agency.

The school board on Monday also approved a contract not to exceed $29,000 to Dayton Sand and Gravel of for repaving work at Memorial Middle School and Skillin Elementary School. The company will repair and repave parking lots, drives and sidewalks at the schools. The board approved the contract unanimously.

“Paving there is absolutely necessary,” said school board member Dick Matthews in an interview Wednesday. “Those parking lots are a mess and they absolutely needed it.”

Mario Moretto can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 106 or mmoretto@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @riocarmine.

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