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westportcdemolition.jpg Town of Westport
The old middle school in Westport has been torn down in anticipation of constructing a new middle-high school.

Construction bids too high for Westport, Mass., middle-high school

School officials looks for ways to reduce project costs by $10 million.

Plans to build a new middle-high school in Westport, Mass., are up in the air after the Westport School Building Committee received construction bids that exceeded the budget by nearly $10 million.

WPRI-TV reports that the low bid received for the project was $84.7 million; the district had budgeted $75 million for construction.

"Our goal is to bring this [the school] to fruition on budget," says Tracy Priestner, vice president of the School Building Committee. "We have made that commitment to the community, and it is important to keep our word on that."

The old Westport Middle School closed in 2014 after hazardous materials were found inside.

Demolition on the building began in December 2018, and the school building committee says the hope is to begin construction on a new school this fall.

Now, the committee is working to revise the plan with the help of the project manager and architect.

The committee has also identified four areas in the new building where they could cut costs: millwork, the use of particular metals, the HVAC system, and a simplified design. Committee members said nothing will take away from the programs students will be offered, or the structure itself.

The roughly 187,000-square-foot facility will be the future home for students in grades 5 through 12.


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