West Salisbury school project on schedule

All is quiet this fall on the grounds of West Salisbury Elementary School, which closed in June to prepare for construction of a replacement school. But while not much appears to be happening at the school right now, with its students and staff temporarily relocated to other schools, a great deal is happening off site to ensure the project moves forward on schedule for reopening in August 2018.

In late September the project construction funding sign was installed on the site, signaling that the process of building a new $28 million West Salisbury Elementary is well under way.

“Although all of the work may not be visible right now, there is a lot going on at the local and state level to make this a successful project for the West Salisbury Elementary School community,” said Dr. Donna C. Hanlin, Superintendent of Schools. “The project is on schedule, and within a few months everyone will start to be able to see clearly the progress toward a brand new West Salisbury Elementary School.”

The project is on schedule, with visible signs of construction expected after bids are received. Right now the school system is making final preparations for water and sewer connections with the City of Salisbury, and preparations for abatement activities which all have to occur before the existing building can be demolished.

The groundbreaking ceremony for the West Salisbury Elementary replacement school project took place on June 9, 2016, the last day of school in the current building. The school system typically holds a groundbreaking ceremony close to the start of construction, making progress on a school project readily apparent. But with West Salisbury Elementary, the groundbreaking came well before the start of construction to make it possible for all of West Salisbury’s students and staff to participate in the event. After June 9, West Salisbury’s classrooms were then temporarily relocated to Charles H. Chipman Elementary (Prekindergarten and Kindergarten) and North Salisbury Elementary (Grades 1 and 2) for the next two school years. There would have been no one on site if the groundbreaking ceremony had happened closer to the actual start of construction.

What’s happening with the West Salisbury Elementary replacement project now:

  • The Wicomico County School Building Commission, Board of Education, Wicomico County Executive and Wicomico County Council have all recently gotten updates on the project, and are committed to working together on the steps necessary to move the project forward. The first round of State funding became available in July and the school system is in discussions with the county on a regular basis regarding the upcoming initial bond sale anticipated in November, as well as the overall timetable for project cash flow needs.
  • The project has been fast tracked since early 2016, recently receiving state planning approval (May) and first-year funding (July 1). Design and construction consultants have been busy preparing the final construction documents for the applicable state submissions and preparation for bidding of trade contracts. The Board of Education approved the Construction Documents at its Sept. 13 meeting, and the Construction Documents have been submitted to the Interagency Committee on Public School Construction (IAC). Bidding is anticipated to start in early October.
  • The student body of West Salisbury Elementary was divided between North Salisbury Elementary and Charles H. Chipman Elementary and will remain at these locations during construction. Although both North Salisbury and Chipman are overcrowded and average class sizes may be larger than normal, the temporary arrangement for this school year and next school year will provide an exciting opportunity to accelerate the construction of the new West Salisbury Elementary and bring students and staff back into a fresh, new West Salisbury Elementary School in the summer of 2018.
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