Westborough Picks Familiar Firm For Gibbons Renovation

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The Gibbons School Building committee decided on a project manager for the Westborough middle school's renovation.
The Gibbons School Building committee decided on a project manager for the Westborough middle school's renovation. Photo Credit: File photo

WESTBOROUGH, Mass. — Gibbons Middle School in Westborough is long overdue for renovation, and Heery International, a company with history in town, has been chosen to go forward with that project.

Heery International also performed Westborough High School's renovation in the early 2000s and was chosen instead of two other companies based on a numerical rating system.

"As much as we're hiring a company, it eventually comes down to individuals and which individuals have the best track record," Gibbons principal Jack Foley said, commenting on how Heery seemed to understand important points about the project's goals.

"They knew which buttons to push, and which would be effective. ... They knew what our big-ticket items are." 

The renovation process, which has been ongoing since 2011, has been slow moving, but the town is continuing to work with the state School Building Authority. The state approved a feasibility study in October that allowed for diagnosis of the repairs needed. 

Necessary renovations will include the heating, plumbing and electrical systems, along with significant roof repair. 

"It's basically going to be taken down to the studs," Foley said.

Early estimations for the renovation are in area of $9.7 million. 

Now that a project manager has been selected, the Gibbons school buildings committee will present the choice to the state authority. After the choice is approved, they will move into negotiations with Heery, committee chair Stephen Doret said. 

"As soon as I can get confirmation from MSBA the sooner we can begin negotiations" Doret said.

"[Heery has] been around this town for a number of years; they know us. I think that benefits us in terms of getting things we want done."

The timing of the renovation, whether during the summer or when school is in session, is one factor that must be decided. 

Both times have positives and negatives, said Town Manager Jim Malloy. If the decision is made for summer work, the construction might drag on for years, becoming more costly. Construction during school likely would require relocation of classrooms for periods of time, which was what was done for the high school's project. 

Foley, who began working at Westborough High School in 2001 during the school's renovation, said he didn't find moving classrooms overly disruptive. 

"It was very well orchestrated and was not that bad," someone said. "It's a viable option to use the [Gibbons] gym."

Superintendent Marianne O'Connor also noted it was vitally important, if construction was going to occur during school, that certain stipulations were in place. One such stipulation would be that no "disruptive" construction can occur during MCAS testing. 

"I keep coming back to that, that's so important," she said. 

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