Mt. Abe seeks input on building repairs pegged at millions of dollars

BRISTOL — An architect/design firm has presented the Addison Northeast Supervisory Union School Board with three options for updating the 40-year old Mount Abraham Union Middle/High School building that are estimated to range in cost from $11.6 million to $26.9 million.
The board is seeking members of the public to serve on a committee that would investigate the options.
The ANeSU board listened to a building improvement feasibility study it commissioned at their Oct. 1 meeting. The study, by architecture firm Dore and Whittier, was presented as a slideshow to the board and discussed different options by which the building facilities could be improved.
ANeSU Superintendent David Adams stressed that this was not a construction proposal, but merely a conceptual presentation of what building improvements would look like and cost. Dore and Whittier is familiar with the building, as the firm worked on the last construction project on Mount Abraham, when an eight-classroom addition was built in 2004.
Mount Abraham Union Middle/High School was built in 1969, and since then has not undergone any interior renovations.
At the Oct. 1 presentation — which followed June 4 and Sept. 17 presentations by Dore and Whittier — the firm showed designs ranging in estimated cost from $11.6 million to $26.9 million.
As part of their research, the architects toured and photographed the school, and consulted staff and administrators to assess what their educational needs were.
There were two objectives defined in the slideshow presentation: to meet education goals, such as consolidating the campus, eliminating tandem classrooms and providing natural light in all rooms; and site/building goals, such as updating infrastructure, improving energy efficiency and complying with the Americans With Disabilities Act.
While Adams said there are no current building violations at the school, the presentation pointed to some deficiencies, such as dead spots on the gym floor, deteriorating window seals and wear on exterior doors.
Dore and Whittier presented three conceptual options — a “do nothing” option, along with Option 1 and Option 2. The “do nothing” option would partially address site and building deficiencies, but would not fix educational deficiencies. The estimated cost of the “do nothing” option is estimated at $11.6 million-$12.8 million.
Option 1 would fully address building and educational deficiencies, for an estimated cost of $24.3 million-$26.9 million. Option 2 would fix all building deficiencies and partially address educational deficiencies, and is estimated to cost $22.4 million-$24.7 million.
All options include installing a sprinkler system throughout the building, for a cost of $1 million.
The school board paid Dore and Whittier $37,000 for their services, using monies from the school’s sinking fund, Adams said. At the school board meeting Oct. 1, Adams recommended the board form an advisory committee consisting of faculty, students and members of the community. The board adopted his idea, and is currently seeking members for this committee.
The Mount Abraham School Facility Advisory Committee will consist of 11 members — three from the school board, one from the Bristol town government, the superintendent, the Mount Abe principal, one student, two Mount Abe teachers and three members of the community at large.
The purpose of the committee will be to research, draft, present and work with the school board to create a facility project plan report for Mount Abe, including a timetable for construction. The body will submit a report to the school board by Jan. 31, 2014.
Persons interested in serving on the committee should submit a letter of interest to the Mount Abraham school board, 72 Munsill Ave., Suite 601, Bristol, by Oct. 25. Members will be selected at the school board meeting Nov. 5.

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