Preliminary costs for Wing School options daunting

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PAUL GATELY | Sandwich Broadsider | May 23, 2015

Preliminary cost estimates for the various Henry T. Wing School re-use/demolition options have come into focus and they are expensive.

Town Manager Bud Dunham on May 21 said the total cost to demolish the entire Wing complex at Water Street and Beale Avenue, excluding the old historic 1927 high school section, totals $3.7 million, with $2 million covering hazardous-debris removal.

Dunham said the evolving preliminary and “probable cost estimates” pivot on the conceptual at this point. More Wing review continues.

Complete renovation and bringing the complex up to various building codes with a reconfiguration of interior space would total an estimated $61 million, Dunham said. Taking everything down – but preserving the old high school section – would total $72 million.

“There are other options but some of them seem so expensive at this point not to be feasible,” Dunham said. “As for the 1927 building’s gym, it’s not feasible to save that; perhaps it’s better to do something new.”

The town manager said some Wing options, though they appear to be unaffordable, start to help frame the what-to-do-with-Wing issue, which is closely watched by community organizations.

Kaestle Boos Architects and the group riding herd on Wing School feasibility options say the old high school involves 35,000 square feet of space from the basement to the top floor.

The goal now is to gauge the amount of square-footage some town agencies would need if they ultimately moved to Wing.

Selectwoman Susan James said attention should also be paid any efforts to move units into a restored Wing section that would generate income.

Selectmen Chairman Frank Pannorfi said such revenue would go – likely – to help pay operating costs, not on project-debt loads.

The school district will not place students in Wing come September. However, the system’s various administrative offices and its facilities department will move into the school, possibly for three years.

As such, the long-discussed memorandum of understanding between the school district and Town Hall about caring for the Wing complex is no longer needed.

The Wing School feasibility study committee meets again June 10 at 8:30 a.m. in Town Hall. This is a public session.

Dunham said another public forum designed to tap community sentiment about what could – or should – be done with Wing is tentatively scheduled for late June. He said the actual date is not yet certain.

Kaestle Boos Architects, meanwhile, to date have delivered “preliminary findings” on the various Wing operating systems, notably heating, ventilation and air conditioning as well as roof conditions and whether the sprawling complex meets basic requirements of the Americans With Disabilities Act.

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