On May 17, a crowd gathered on an open field beside the Sanborn building where construction of Concord’s new middle school is finally slated to begin.
School officials and Concord Middle School Building Committee members shared messages of excitement and appreciation to all those who made the project possible, including the Concord community, whose support Superintendent Laurie Hunter called “enduring and tireless.”
“The project has had its challenges with the pandemic, supply chain, and inflation issues but we are finally here!” Hunter said. “For many years, the goal has been to move forward from the culture of two school buildings to one united Concord Middle School. Construction of a new building brings that vision to fruition.”
Plans for the new middle school began in 2019 and faced significant delays due to the pandemic. The town approved $102.8M for the project last year and voted to override the limits of Proposition 2 ½ in favor of an additional $7.2 million to accommodate rising construction costs in February. Recently, the Building Committee chose to recommend CTA Construction Managers as the general contractor for the project, as their bid came in roughly $2 million under budget.
Elementary and rising middle school students featured prominently in the ground-breaking celebration: a student choir sang a song called “Give Us Hope” and Middle School Principal Justin Cameron introduced 10 fourth, fifth and sixth graders chosen to serve on a Student Middle School Building Project Committee; a group created to help ensure the project remains “centered on what students really want from a school building,” he said.
Cameron announced the name and height of each student before calling them forward, “because when we ribbon cut in two years,” he explained, “we’re going to share with all of you how much we have grown.” The students then armed themselves with child-sized hard hats and shovels and dug into a pile of earth to energetic applause.
Building Committee Co-Chair Dawn Guarriello said construction of the new building is expected to begin “mobilizing in the next couple of weeks.”
“[They] will stake out the building, dig for footings and foundations, then steel will be erected,“ she said.
Construction is expected to last approximately 20 months with “substantial completion” scheduled for December of 2024, according to the project website. Detailed updates and information about the project is available at www.cmsbuildingproject.org.