Expansion for East Hampton High School scaled back

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The design for the new construction project at East Hampton High School has been scaled back to cut costs, the lead architect on the project told the East Hampton District School Board Tuesday, December 2.

New bids for the project are expected to come in early January and construction will probably begin in the spring, John Tanzi, of Beatty, Harvey and Associates said in an interview after the meeting.

“It certainly looks promising that there are a number of bidders” who have picked up bid documents, he said.

Four prime contracts have been put out to bid: a general construction contract, and contracts for mechanical, electrical and plumbing work, he said. A first round of bids for the high school project were submitted in July, but were rejected in August by the School Board primarily because the bids were too high.

One change in the design will be a reduced amount of space for district offices, Mr. Tanzi said. “We originally had planned 10,000 square feet of space but we have been able to squeeze that down to 7,000 square feet.”

The office space will be relocated to the first floor, eliminating the need for an elevator and staircase, he said.

The height of the cafeteria will also be reduced, and four new classrooms out of the original 26 that were designed will be eliminated.

The plan for the high school includes a renovation of the existing facility and an 88,000-square-foot expansion, reduced from the original plan for 96,000 square feet. The addition will include the new cafeteria and a student lounge, 22 classrooms, multi-purpose community spaces, and a new library media center. A hallmark of the design will be the triple-glazed windows in the cafeteria for day lighting and controlling heat.

Although school district officials have declined to say how much the renovation and additions will cost, and Mr. Tanzi declined to say how much money would be saved by scaling back the design, an article in Construction News, in February 2008, put the original figure at $58 million.

Despite the cutbacks in space, Mr. Tanzi said the school construction would retain its status as a “green” building.

“Even though we’ve taken a look at economizing, this building is still going to be certified a New York CHPS (The state Education Department’s Collaborative for High Performance Schools standards) building. The East Hampton High School is first to use the New York CHPS standards, which are high performance redesign guidelines for schools,” Mr. Tanzi said.

Some work has already begun at the high school. The gym, for example, has received a face-lift. New lights were installed, and the entire space has been repainted. New bleachers are in, artificial turf for the playing field is in, and the tennis courts were moved further away from the school building to make way for the expansion.

The high school expansion and renovation is part of a larger construction project for all three school buildings in the district. Construction is already underway at the John M. Marshall Elementary School and the East Hampton Middle School.

The overall $79-million project to expand and renovate all three buildings was approved by taxpayers in a referendum in 2006.

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