Magnet school is on schedule to open in 2022

Published on Thursday, 13 February 2020 18:28


BRISTOL - The work on transforming the old Memorial Boulevard School into the Memorial Boulevard Intradistrict Arts Magnet School continues, but mostly behind the scenes for the time being.

“Most of the work that’s happening there is confined to spaces and places that are not in public view, so people may be wondering what’s happening,” said Deputy Superintendent Michael Dietter in his monthly report to the Board of Education.

The complete design set is now on file with the Board of Education’s facilities office, said Dietter, who chairs the building committee for the project. “We have been doing forensic and site soil analysis, with digs throughout the property in order to understand what’s in the dirt before we begin to move it.”

“There has been mapping of the site and sewer drain lines,” he said. “We understand there’s some sediment because those lines haven’t been in use for a number of years, so we’ve been working with Bristol Water Department on a schedule to jet those lines, clean them out, and get the water and other stuff flowing the way it should.”

Dietter said Tim Callahan, the district’s project manager for the school, has been working with the architects Quisenberry Arcari and Malik LLC, as well as representatives from relevant state offices, to review the paperwork on the project.

“We understand that we’re up to date and everything has been submitted at the appropriate timelines,” Dietter said.

There is a U.S. Geological Survey monument on the property, he noted. “When you have a project of this scope that needs to be taken out while the construction is happening and then brought back. That process is rather lengthy so Mr. Callahan has been working with the contractor in order to secure the appropriate documentation process for that.”

Inside the building, the kitchen layout has been approved, he said. “We’ve made a final decision about the theater ceiling, it is going to be replaced with curved dry wall rather than acoustic sound clouds.”

“We do anticipate that in June the work will be moving forward rather quickly with the remediation of the site,” he said. “The timeline for us to move in, project completion, is looking at March of ‘22, with students being welcomed for the start of that school year. There’s no substantial changes to the timeline or with the budget, we’re still operating at a $63 million cost.”

In December, the City Council and Board of Finance approved an $8.1 million hike in the price of converting the old school to an arts magnet school, due to increases in construction costs for removing hazardous materials from the building and a state level policy change.

The total cost of the project is now $63 million, of which 60% will be paid by the state. The city’s share is now $25.3 million.

The city and Board of Education are collaborating on the project to transform the closed school into a arts magnet school for grades six through 12. The opening date is projected to be August of 2022.

Memorial Boulevard was the city’s high school when it opened in 1922. In 1967, it became a junior high school and then a middle school, until it closed at the end of the 2011-12 school year, as part of a major redistricting in which five aged schools were closed and two large new ones opened.

Susan Corica can be reached at 860-973-1802 or

Posted in The Bristol Press, Bristol on Thursday, 13 February 2020 18:28. Updated: Thursday, 13 February 2020 18:30.