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Renovations begin at Salem's Fisk and Soule schools

SALEM — Work is under way on the $17 million renovation project at Fisk and Soule elementary schools.

Trees have been cut down and emergency fencing is in place at Soule School, and students and parents are adjusting to new traffic patterns.

“All the traffic patterns have been changed and the front door is no longer the front door,” said Superintendent Michael Delahanty. “Students and visitors are entering from the side door, then later in the day when guests come in, they have to be buzzed in and directed to the office.”

As the construction gets under way, Delahanty said staff are monitoring all the students as they enter and exit the school to make sure they remain safe.

At Fisk School, the front door is still in use as contractors there have also installed emergency fencing and begun cutting down trees.

Delahanty said the form and foundation work at both schools should begin in another week or two.

“The exterior work and the foundation work will be done first,” he said. He said the phase of the project involving new construction will last until March.

“Once that is done, we will start moving the kids into new areas and renovate the existing spaces,” said Delahanty.

The projects at the two schools will be done in four phases, with the anticipation that the entire project will be completed by the middle of August next year, in time for the beginning of the 2014-15 school year.

The project team meets regularly to make sure the project is on time and on budget.

Delahanty said the project is within $50,000 of the maximum estimated budget, but he said he is confident there will be more favorable bids coming in and that the project will come in under budget.

By mid-October, the construction manager will be able to determine the final guaranteed price for the project and will then be responsible for sticking to that budget, said Delahanty.

Several school board members said they have talked to staff at the schools and that they have indicated they are excited about the project.

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