School expansion project comes in under budget

Saccarappa Elementary School will more than double in size.

WESTBROOK — The school expansion project has come in under budget by almost $8 million.

The School Committee on Monday accepted a bid of almost $19.5 million from Arthur C. Dudley Contractor Builder Inc. of Standish. Westbrook voters in November approved a $27.3 million bond for the project, which includes the renovations of Saccarappa School and Westbrook Middle School.

The School Department received three bids for the project, with Dudley’s being the lowest, according to Superintendent Peter Lancia. The other bids were $20.4 million from Ganneston Construction of Augusta and $20.8 million from Harvey Construction of Bedford, New Hampshire.

Lancia said he and the School Committee are pleased to see the project come in under budget.

“It’s nice to have that little bit of buffer,” he said.

Lancia expects most of the savings won’t be borrowed, but some of it could be used to build more play space for students, for example.

Lancia said he is meeting on July 27 with Dudley and the project’s architect, Dan Cecil of Harriman Associates, to discuss a construction schedule. He said he expects work to begin in early August.

Work was originally supposed to begin right after school let out for the summer, but the process was delayed because final design plans were still being worked on.

Saccarappa School, which is almost 70 years old, is the larger of the two projects. Lancia said the elementary school, located at 110 Huntress Ave., will more than double in size. Twelve new general classrooms will be added, as well as 12 special education classrooms. There will also be a new library, cafeteria, a full-size gymnasium, music and art rooms, a playground and athletic fields. Existing parts of the school also will be upgraded and renovated.

Twelve new classrooms will be added to Westbrook Middle School, which opened in 2010 at 471 Stroudwater St. Although the building is relatively new, it’s considered over capacity by more than 100 students. A third floor will be added to the school and an addition will be built up along one side of the building.

Lancia said he expects the middle school project to take 12 months to complete and the Saccarappa School project to take 18 months. He said school administrators have been meeting to discuss plans for how the project will be managed while school is in session. Four portable classroom trailers have already been purchased to be used at the middle school.

Cecil and Dudley have built schools together in the past, Lancia said, so he expects the project to go smoothly with very little disruption to learning.

“They know what it’s like to build a school when school is in session,” he said.

After a few delays in the schedule, Lancia said he’s looking forward to the project getting underway.

“We’re pretty excited to finally put some shovels in the ground,” he said.

Kate Gardner can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or Follow her on Twitter: @katevgardner.

Saccarappa Elementary School will more than double in size.

A third floor will be added to Westbrook Middle School as part of the school expansion project.