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Steel goes up at Platt


MERIDEN — Construction is progressing smoothly at Platt High School despite the recent snowy weather, as crews began erecting steel at the site Monday.

Work on the $111.8 million Platt renovations is on track, said project manager David Cravanzola, of construction management firm O&G Industries, while watching steel beams being set up and bolted in during the early afternoon.

“It’s been just about 60 calendar days since we began construction,” Cravanzola said. “Everybody has done a good job so far.”

Construction at Platt calls for the school to be renovated “like new,” for a new classroom and library section to be built at the corner of Oregon Road and Coe Avenue and for a classroom wing to be demolished. So far, most of the work has been focused on the new construction and the renovation of the school’s pool.

Though the city received close to six inches of snow over the weekend, much of it, within the construction area, had been cleared out or pushed to the side to allow for work to continue. Unless the snow is falling hard or “whipping around,” Cravanzola said construction crews typically continue to work.

“It’s really up for discretion, obviously it can be a safety concern,” he said.

When there is snow on the ground, however, Cravanzola said it is all about “moving whatever snow that we need to” and making sure to plan ahead. Materials were covered in anticipation of the snow and some parts of what was already installed were covered. Insulated blankets were used to prevent ice from forming in the areas where steel was being installed. A built-in portion of the project budget is dedicated to winter construction in case of snow removal, heating the steel beams or dealing with other challenges.

Some steel had been heated Monday, as, one by one, a crane hoisted the beams and put them vertically in place, while a crew bolted them in. All of the steel is expected to be in place for the first phase of the project within two weeks, Cravanzola said. City councilor and School Building Committee Chairman Matthew C. Dominello watched and said he was pleased with the progress.

“That’s the future right there,” Dominello said.

Principal Robert Montemurro also took a few minutes just before the school dismissal to watch the first few beams of steel be put up.

“I got tied up in the office and came out and they already have four pieces of steel up,” Montemurro said, commending O&G and the contractors. “Looks good.”

The area closest to the Oregon Road-Coe Avenue intersection will be home to a three-story section of the school, which will include the library. Just to the east, where the band and choral classrooms are, will be a two-story area. The outer wall of the classrooms has been removed and the rooms have been gutted to be made “like new.”

Once the steel is set in place, crews will spend about a month welding them together, placing the decks in, among other tasks. The full area will be tented off to make for a warmer environment, Cravanzola said.

The new section of the building, which is considered to be the first phase of the project, is scheduled to be completed by the beginning of the 2014 school year. 203-317-2266 Twitter: @DanBrechlinRJ

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