5 The Clark Avenue Middle School represents one of the most logistically- complex and challenging undertakings in W.T. Rich’s recent history. The new, 5-story, 115,200 SF middle school was to be constructed in the same location as the existing, operational, middle school building. Because the City was unable to arrange for economical, off-site swing space, the existing middle school had to remain occupied and operational throughout the construction project. Thus, the new school was built in two phases. In Phase 1, one wing of the existing school was demolished. In its place, W.T. Rich constructed a 75,000 SF, 5-story academic wing. School operations relocated from the existing school to the newly constructed building over the Christmas 2016 school break. Phase 2 commenced in January 2017 with the abatement and demolition of the remaining wing of the existing building, followed by construction of the new gymnasium, locker rooms, media center, and administrative office space.
Location: Chelsea, MA
Completion: August 2018
Contract Value: $47 million
Size: 115,200 SF
Type: Phased/Occupied - New Construction
Owner: The City of Chelsea - Chelsea, MA
Designer: HMFH Architects, Inc. - Cambridge, MA
Delivery Method: CM-at-Risk (M.G.L. Chapter 149A)
HIGHLIGHTS & CHALLENGES
Phase 1 schedule was very tight. Foundations began mid-September 2015 and the substantial completion requirement was 15 months later (mid-December 2016). The schedule required several complex winter construction operations including steel erection and SOG/SOD placements.
In addition to school occupancy requirements, the project faced tight logistical conditions with the existing school being less than 10 feet from new building foundations.
Because of the proximity of neighboring properties and existing-to-remain/active roadways, extensive, engineered earth support systems were required.
Phase 1 demolition included demolishing the existing boiler plant; a temporary boiler system had to be installed and maintained for the entire Phase 1 school year.
With relatively short notice, the City decided to conduct a utility replacement project immediately adjacent to our site, requiring additional coordination requirements and site constraints.
W.T. Rich worked with the City of Chelsea, the design team, and the school to define acceptable yet reasonably achievable thresholds for allowable noise levels, ensure the continuity of utility services to surrounding structures, and enforce explicit, limited construction vehicle access routes.
With heavy demolition operations in close proximity to the existing school and several residential dwellings, great care had to be taken to minimize vibration to avoid damage to these nearby existing structures.