The exterior construction project taking place at Persell Middle School is on schedule to be finished by the end of this month.
The project is one facet of the school's capital improvement project that was voted on by the public two years ago. Construction began last week on the Baker Street side of the school and is anticipated to be finished by Nov. 30. Funding for the project comes largely through state aid due to Persell's free and reduced lunch status as a district and the degree of improvement that the project will bring to the school. According to Phil Cammarata, principal of Persell, the benefits of having the project finished are numerous.
"It's going to be a bus dropoff and student dropoff because the congestion on Hazeltine Street in the morning is just insane," said Cammarata. "One of the things that was problematic for a lot of the kids is that the sixth grade, if they got dropped off on Hazeltine in the winter, would have to walk all the way around the building, and that's chilly. Or if it was raining, the kids would get all wet and be tracking mud into the building. But now we'll have sidewalks going all the way around the building, which will be nice."
Pictured is work being done at the Baker Street entrance to Persell Middle School’s main parking lot. The exit is being converted into a one-way exit.
P-J photos by Gavin Paterniti
In addition to building a new student dropoff on Baker Street, the construction project will also change the Baker Street parking lot entrance into a one-way exit, with the only parking lot entrance now being on Connecticut Avenue.
The other portion of the capital improvement project includes interior work, which will take place after school hours and over holiday breaks. According to Cammarata, the interior project involves hazardous materials that would pose a safety concern to students and staff at Persell.
"The other parts of the project can't be done during the school year," he said. "For example, there's asbestos abatement that will have to happen and we've got some new walls being built in two different rooms. So there's a lot of things that can't be done because it would disturb the classroom setting. They'll start prep work on a lot of the interior things during second shift, so they'll be removing ceiling tiles and doing electrical wiring after school hours."
Based on previous experience, Cammarata said the crews will come in around 4 p.m. and work until midnight, at which point they clean up before the start of classes the next morning.
The large portions of interior construction project such as walls and flooring will take place over Christmas and spring breaks as well as next summer.