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Williamsburg School Building Committee hires general contractor, sets ground-breaking date

— Plans to renovate and expand the Anne T. Dunphy School are on schedule and moving forward with the recent hiring of a construction firm from Enfield, Conn.

“The School Building Committee voted on March 21 to award the contract to Enfield Builders,” School Building Committee member and Town Administrator Charlene Nardi said. “We did a lot of reference checks and they come very highly recommended.”

Enfield Builders’ president, John R. Petronella, said that the firm, which has been in business since 1972, has done many school building projects in Connecticut and Massachusetts.

Petronella and Thomas J. Lagowski, the firm’s controller, met with the School Building Committee Thursday. “The work on the building will begin in roughly two weeks.” Petronella said.

Last April, voters approved the $12.6 million school renovation project at a special Town Meeting. The Massachusetts School Building Authority is helping to fund the project, paying $6.9 million, or 61.86 percent, of the total renovation pricetag.

In the fall of 2012, students from the Dunphy School, which served grades 3-6, were relocated to the Helen E. James School, which had housed children in pre-kindergarten through second grade.

Principal Stacey Jenkins said that combining all the grades into one school has gone smoothly.

“Things are going very well. We were all wondering what it would be like this winter, and things have been really great,” Jenkins said.

She said that seeing all of the planning and preparation for the project come to fruition is rewarding.

“This is so exciting. This time last year is when the town approved the project and I remember how excited we were then. Now we get to see the work being done,” Jenkins said. “Looking at the entire process, this is the part that should move along pretty quickly.”

Approximately 22,000 square feet of the school will be renovated, and 16,000 square feet will be added to the 60-year-old building.

The newly expanded school is designed to accommodate 270 students and will house all of Williamsburg’s 160 students in pre-kindergarten through Grade 6. Renovations are expected to be completed in June 2014.

Jenkins said the official groundbreaking ceremony will be May 8 at 3:15 p.m.

“All are welcome. We would love to have the whole community turn out,” she said.

“A big congratulations goes to the town and to the School Building Committee,” School Superintendent Craig Jurgensen said.

“It is exciting to be a part of all of this, but the real work was done by the committee. They worked very hard to bring this project to where it is today,” he said.

The fate of the Helen E. James School has not been decided.

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