New Memorial Elementary School construction starts off strong

PAUL BILODEAU/Staff photoConstruction has started on the new elementary school at the rear of the existing elementary school in Manchester.

MANCHESTER — The new Memorial Elementary School building project is “if not right on schedule, a little ahead of schedule,” according to Brian Paradee of W.T. Rich, the project’s construction manager.

“I’m very happy with how (the workers have) started the project,” he told Manchester Essex Regional School Committee members at their meeting Tuesday night. Paradee presented an update to the project alongside Christina Shefferman of Dore & Whittier Architects, the firm responsible for project management.

“Everyone is really on top of everything,” concurred Superintendent Pam Beaudoin, who was at the meeting.

The two representatives reported there have been no major red flags with how the project is coming along so far, other than some minor complaints from neighbors. One had issue with the temporary signage in the area and another complained about the speed with which contractors leave the parking lot when the work day is over. Both Paradee and Shefferman said they’ll be working on solutions to fix these concerns.

At the moment, crews are laying down the cement base for the new school’s two-story academic building. When asked about the project’s topsoil, Paradee and Shefferman said it is unsuitable for reuse. Steel work is expected to start in October, and deliveries will be dropped off within the coming weeks.

Bids for “high-priority trades,” which includes masonry, roofing, and mechanical, electrical and plumbing services will be awarded on Oct. 8. “Priority non-trade” bids for drywall, millwork and spray foam insulation, among others, will be awarded on Oct. 15. On Nov. 12, the project’s final guaranteed maximum price contract will be submitted.

The new school is expected to feature three 900-square-foot classrooms per grade; two special education classrooms; two pre-K classrooms with their own side entrance; and combined cafeteria, auditorium/stage and gymnasium with a regulation‐size basketball court. It is expected to be completed in November 2021.

Michael Cronin may be contacted at 978-675-2708, or

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