Norwich clearing up construction before school starts

NORWICH – If you are looking for the scent of new erasers and freshly sharpened pencils in the air, you’ll have to wait a few more weeks. You are more likely to smell construction dust and fresh paint on any stroll through Norwich school halls this week.

Despite the construction debris and hard hat requirements, Superintendent Gerard O’Sullivan fully expects all four of the district’s schools to be ready for students come the first day of the 2008-09 school year.

“I get more confident every day,” said O’Sullivan. Don’t expect, however, for all of the final details to be finished by Sept. 4.

At Stanford Gibson Primary and Perry Browne Intermediate, the second half of the work begun last summer is near completion. “I’m very pleased to see where they are with the construction,” said O’Sullivan. “We’re in really great shape in those buildings.”

O’Sullivan showed similar confidence in the progress of work at the middle school. More of a concern is the high school. “It will be a race to the finish line,” reported O’Sullivan. “In a perfect world, everything should have been done.”

Some projects, like replacing lockers in the high school, are being put on hold while work is focused on more critical areas. The library, nursing/community health center, gymnasium and pool are some of the projects that O’Sullivan considers “non-negotiable.”

“We don’t want to take time out of task,” said O’Sullivan, stressing that student areas are the priority.

The high school’s Large Group Instruction Room is one space that will not be completed in time for the first day of school. The district can live with this, said O’Sullivan, because the room will not be needed right away. It should be finished by the end of September.

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