Prep work underway to build new $121 million Taconic High School


PITTSFIELD — The site work is under way for the new Taconic High School — the largest public project in city history.

J.H. Maxymillian Inc. on Monday began preparing the open space for the $120.8 million state-of-the-art facility that will replace the existing 47-year-old secondary school.

The Pittsfield contractor won the bid to create an access road to the soon-to-be fenced in construction site across the driveway from the original Taconic. The $10 million worth of work also includes leveling the ground, installing water retention basins and building a temporary parking lot closer to Valentine Road to compensate for the loss of parking near the school's main entrance.

In addition, Pittsfield-based Unistress will assist Coreslab Structures from Connecticut in providing concrete for the project.

"The first two contracts being awarded involving local companies is a nice boost for the community," said PIttsfield Public School Superintendent Jason "Jake" McCandless.

McCandless noted the next important sub contract going out to bid is for the steel.

"The structural concrete and steel need to be bid early so we can line up our orders with the manufacturers," he said.

Construction manager Gilbane Construction had expected the project to begin in late March, and the snowless winter has worked in the city's favor, according to McCandless. If completed on time, the new Taconic High School will open in the fall of 2018, with the existing school being demolished at some point.

The construction will disrupt several athletic activities at Taconic, with the softball and soccer fields out of commission, along with the lacrosse practice field. Taconic Braves softball will call home the Doyle Softball Complex on Benedict Road, lacrosse has been shifted to Berkshire Community College on West Street and track and field home meets will be held at Wahconah regional High School in Dalton.

"With the impact on parking, the javelin and discus area, we felt on track day it would be tough on the spectators," McCandless said.

While the track circles the football field, McCandless doesn't expect the project to disrupt home games.

Once finished, the new Taconic — at 246,000 square feet — will accommodate up to 920 students and cost city taxpayers nearly one-third of the $120.8 million, with the Massachusetts School Building Authority footing the rest of the bill.

Contact Dick Lindsay at 413 496-6233


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