Start of NHS renovations pushed back

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Completion date still on track

This artistic rendering shows the front of Naugatuck High School following the renovations. –CONTRIBUTED

NAUGATUCK — Renovations to Naugatuck High School are scheduled to begin next March, not this November as originally planned.

Soon after the borough hired O & G Industries of Torrington as construction manager for the $81 million project in February, the company presented a plan to complete the renovations in 30 months, Naugatuck High Principal Janice Saam said. The building committee and Kaestle Boos Associates, the project’s architects, approved of that scenario, which keeps the original completion date at August 2015, Saam said.

The renovation work, which will restore the 53-year-old high school to mint condition, was originally planned to last longer so fewer classes would be displaced at one time, Saam said. The 30-month window calls for about 18 classes to be relocated at any given time, Saam said.

“I just thought, ‘Oh my God, where do I find room for 18 classes in the current configuration that I have?’” Saam said.

The architects showed her where space can be created in places such as the media center and large classes that can be subdivided, Saam said. A new addition will be used as swing space for classrooms before reaching its intended use as a fitness and dance studio, Saam said.

The shorter construction window is expected to save money, Saam said, although she could not say how much.

Saam and the construction firm completed a phasing plan for the project Thursday. Construction will begin with new additions — the entrance patio will be filled in with administrative offices, the pool will become a natatorium with balcony seating for spectators and locker rooms below, and space will be built for the dance studio and weight room. No one will be displaced in the initial months of construction, Saam said.

“All of next school year nobody will move,” Saam said. “It’s just the following two years that it’ll be like a chess game for a while.”

After the new addition, the Goodyear wing of the building will be renovated, followed by the Castle, adult education and Judd wings, in that order.

No portable classrooms outside the building will be used, but most teachers will spend one semester teaching in “swing space” somewhere inside the school, Saam said.

“We will have to label all the rooms so that students and teachers know where to report,” Saam said.

Some students’ lockers will be relocated because no one is allowed to access areas under construction, Saam said. The school has enough extra lockers to move some around, she said.

“It moves fairly quickly throughout the building,” Saam said.