WAHCONAHBUILD-1.jpg (copy)

Workers install flooring in April in one of the classrooms at the new Wahconah Regional High School in Dalton. Though work will not be complete by the start of school, the new building will be occupied by students and staff, officials say.

Editor's note: This story has been corrected. The tour Wednesday is of the existing Wahconah Regional High School.

Though construction work isn’t complete on the new Wahconah Regional High School in Dalton, students will start the year in their new building, as promised.

Meantime, curious members of the public can get a look inside the old school this week.

From 5 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, people can enter the 60-year-old school through the “A” lobby and walk about the space.

Principal Aaron Robb said that staff members will be positioned throughout the new building to answer questions from the public. Masks are required for people who have not been vaccinated fully, he said.

Meantime, efforts to build a new school almost entirely during a pandemic hit some delays, but not enough to prevent use of the Central Berkshire Regional School District building. The ground-breaking took place just as COVID-19 hit the region and country. The pandemic affected the contractor's ability to obtain materials in some cases, officials have said.

Thomas Hutcheson, Dalton's town manager, says he was told work will continue during the school's off-hours, and likely through the Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks.

“Not everything will be completed, but they’ve planned for this situation,” Hutcheson told members of the Select Board recently. “The entire school year can be completed at the high school,” he said.

The new building will replace the existing school beside it, which will be demolished in the coming year to make room, in part, for playing fields.

The district’s share of the $72.72 million school, after a state reimbursement, will be $41.33 million. Barr & Barr was chosen to handle construction.

The school narrowly won voter approval in the seven-town district in April 2019, passing by 88 votes. The district includes Becket, Cummington, Dalton, Hinsdale, Peru, Washington and Windsor.

Larry Parnass can be reached at lparnass@berkshireeagle.com and 413-588-8341.

Managing editor for innovation

Larry Parnass joined The Eagle in 2016 from the Daily Hampshire Gazette, where he was editor in chief. His freelance work has appeared in the Washington Post, Boston Globe, Hartford Courant, CommonWealth Magazine and with the Reuters news service.

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