Gym renovations at ConVal in full swing

  • ConVal School District Facilities Manager Tim Grossi points out where a new corridor will be built connecting the second level of the remodeled ConVal High School gymnasium wing to the school’s main building.<br/><br/>(Staff Photo by Dave Anderson)
  • ConVal gym renovationsConVal High School gym renovations in full swing.<br/><br/>(Staff Photo by Dave Anderson)
  • ConVal gym renovationsConVal High School gym renovations in full swing.<br/><br/>(Staff Photo by Dave Anderson)

PETERBOROUGH — The jump ball circle remains in place in the center of the ConVal High School gymnasium, but not for long. Construction workers have stripped the space to bare walls and ripped up the rest of the hardwood floor. Outdated lighting and heating/air conditioning units are gone. Only the basketball backboards and the bleachers remain.

It’s a big, empty and dark space now. But the reconstruction of the gym is on schedule, according to ConVal Facilities Manager Tim Grossi. It should be complete by March, he says, in time for members of the class of 2013 to enjoy new locker rooms, team rooms and classroom space.

“Shovels just went in a couple of weeks ago,” Grossi said on Tuesday, as he gave a tour of the gymnasium wing. “Our contractors have been great. Mathewson Construction is doing the outside work now and it’s really coming along.”

The $4 million project, which was approved by ConVal district voters in March will bring the gymnasium wing into compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act and Title IX requirements. It will provide a covered outdoor ramp for handicapped access and include renovations to the gym itself, including a new floor, lighting, and dividers, additional classroom space in the gym wing, equally sized locker rooms for boys and girls and two team rooms.

Right now, the gym wing is closed off to students. The interior has been essentially gutted, since everything will be relocated. Most of the plumbing from the small boys and girls bathrooms that were located across the entry hall from the gym has been removed and the space will become an expanded concession area.

On Tuesday, workers from the Mathewson Companies were backfilling the excavated space around the foundation of the new entry addition on the north side of the building. That area will hold new bathrooms and an elevator to provide handicapped access to the second floor, which will also be reached directly by a new corridor from the main school building.

The entire gymnasium wing will be partially faced with brick for several feet above the ground, then covered with metal siding for the upper section.

Grossi said some asbestos was removed when bathrooms on the second floor were torn apart.

“It had been used as insulation for plumbing,” he said. “It was all behind cinder block walls. It was a nonexistent hazard because it was in a sealed area.”

The unexpected asbestos removal added about $17,000 to the cost of the project. That money will come out of the contingency line item included in the project budget if necessary, Grossi said. But so far the project is actually slightly under budget.

Grossi said one change that’s been made is to relocate the trainer’s room space so it is in between the girls and the boys locker rooms on the first floor of the building.

Grossi said the asbestos removal, the shift of the trainer’s room and some issues with the land where an addition to accommodate the boys locker room will be built have put the project a little behind schedule. But the district’s Building Committee is meeting weekly with representatives of Banwell Architects, the designers of the project, and Hutter Construction, which is overseeing the construction work.

“We’ve approved all the vendors and they’re all lined up,” Grossi said. “Some bids came in a little higher than expected, some a little lower.”

He said Hutter has done a good job working with the high school administration to minimize disruptions for students, who have to walk past the closed down gym wing to get to the temporary trailers being used as locker rooms for phys ed classes and by athletic teams.

“Hutter and the students have been great,” Grossi said. “There have been no reports of any incidents. They’ve arranged for deliveries at non-busy hours. It’s been a real coordinated effort.”

Grossi said the installation of up-to-date air handling equipment throughout the gym wing will save the district money in the long run.

“We’re improving the thermal envelope of the whole structure,” he said. “There’s real payback in that.”

As for center court, that section of wood floor may not be around too long. Grossi said there’s been talk that someone might want to buy it as a memento, but no offers have yet been made.

“We left center court intact in hopes someone would want it,” he said. “If no one steps up and wants it we will cut it into sections and store it until it is wanted. We have several pallets of the floor cut into sections now. The hope is to take donations in exchange for a section of the old gym floor as a fundraiser. I hope none of the old floor has to go to scrap.”

Dave Anderson can be reached at 924-7172, ext. 233 or He’s on Twitter at @ DaveAndersonMLT.

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