W.T. Rich completes construction of new 66,000 s/f West Parish School

April 21, 2017 - Construction Design & Engineering

Gloucester, MA W.T. Rich Company, Dore & Whittier Architects and the city of Gloucester have completed the new West Parish School. This 66,000 s/f elementary school serves grades K through 5. The project was completed on time and under budget, and was delivered through the CM-at-Risk (M.G.L. Chapter 149A) process.  The original West Parish Elementary School, which was built in 1949, was riddled with major deficiencies and inadequate building systems. 

The project scope also included the fast-track renovation (ten weeks) of a nearby former parochial school to be used as swing space while the existing school was demolished and replaced. 

W.T. Rich Co. worked in partnership with the city of Gloucester, Knight, Bagge & Anderson (owner’s project manager) and Dore & Whittier Architects to collaboratively find pragmatic solutions to all project challenges. For example, during preconstruction, it was discovered that the original foundation design of steel piles, grade beams and a structural slab would be very costly. W.T. Rich proactively recommended the inclusion of rammed aggregate piers and this solution ended up saving approximately $1 million and one month of construction work.

Design features include a new three-story steel-framed building for classes, and an attached single-story wing that houses the gymnasium, cafeteria and auditorium. As a nod to the nautical history of Gloucester, the main hallway was constructed using glue-laminated beams to emulate Nineteenth century ship building techniques. Additionally, custom lighting fixtures inside the main entry were crafted to resemble buoys. 

Through this collaborative approach, the project team was able to achieve substantial completion and certificate of occupancy on schedule by July 2016.  Additionally, the project was delivered with unused owner contingency funds. The West Parish School in Gloucester received a USGBC LEED Gold certification. The city, the school board and the project team were all thrilled with the new school in terms of cost, quality and schedule, and the seamless manner in which the project was executed from start to finish.


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