Committee praises construction speed on Chariho alternative learning academy
WOOD RIVER JCT. — Members of the RYSE Building Committee heard good news from Ahlborg Construction Corp. Vice President Glenn Ahlborg at their Thursday meeting. The foundation for the new Chariho school for students with special needs will be poured in the coming days, and the building will have a roof by Thanksgiving.
Ahlborg Construction was awarded the contract after submitting the lowest bid of $4,675,000.
“I’m very much impressed with the way things are going,” said Richmond committee member William Day. “I’m shocked, to be honest with you, because I’ve never seen such speed going forward.”
Construction of the new school, which will be renamed the Chariho Alternative Learning Academy, began on Aug. 8, and is expected to be completed by Sept. 2018. The building, which will replace leased trailers, will be an addition to the middle school but will remain a separate facility.
The Rhode Island Department of Education approved $5.2 million for the new building and will reimburse the district for up to 65 percent of the construction cost. The Chariho towns will pay the remaining cost. Last November, voters in the three towns approved a bond of up to $6 million to build the new school.
Building committee members discussed several “value engineering items,” components and materials that could be modified or switched to save money.
The first discussion involved the relative costs, benefits and security ramifications of different glass configurations in the school’s interior doors. In the end, members settled on doors without glass side panels, but with some glass in the doors themselves that would still let light filter in.
Another important item is the type of brick that will be used on the outside of the school. Project Manager Peter Hess of the Providence architectural firm, Robinson Green Beretta, which is designing the project, brought brick samples that he said would cost less to install because they don’t require masons to do the work. The choice of the new bricks will save approximately $20,000.
“It doesn’t require masons, who charge $100 per hour,” Ahlborg noted. “It doesn’t compromise quality. It’s still a high-quality product.”
The committee also opted for a different type of roof for the school. Ahlborg explained that rather than a roof that would be glued on, the new roofing system, which would have a 30-year warranty and can withstand winds up to 90 miles per hour, could be installed right over the steel, even in colder weather.
“It’s a heat-bonded system,” he said. “Mechanically fastened to your [roof] deck.”
The committee approved the alternate roof, which will cost $245,000, $10,000 less than the originally proposed roof. It will be white to reflect the sun and keep the building cooler.
Construction meetings will be held weekly from now on at a trailer on the construction site, and Day was appointed to represent the building committee at the meetings. Members also discussed holding a groundbreaking ceremony, which Superintendent of Schools Barry Ricci said he would look into before the next meeting, on Sept. 19.