With Arlington voters approving the new Arlington High School Building project during Special Town Election on Tuesday, June 11, the Arlington High School Building Committee can now set its sights on the next phase of the project.
"When we found out the vote passed, it felt really good. It was very gratifying to get that confirmation from the voters," said Committee Chair Jeff Thielman. "Seventy-seven percent of the voters were in favor of the new high school, and now it is up to us to deliver that project in a responsible way as soon as possible."
Thielman said that next major decision the Committee will make will be selecting a construction firm to handle the project, something he expects to be finalized in the next few weeks. The firm chosen will handle the construction operation of the project and hire sub-contractors to perform the manual labor portion of the project.
"We have had a subcommittee come up with five final candidates to handle the construction phase of the project, and we are close to a consensus one firm. But there is still some due diligence left before everything is official," Thielman said. "We also expect to sign what is called a project scope agreement with the state in the next few weeks."
Thielman said that the project will begin the design development phase, where different aspects of the development process will be hammered out.
"We still need to finalize certain aspects of the construction phase, things like exactly where on the site where workers are going to park, the exact dates of when certain things are going to be placed," Thielman said.
Thielman believes that the official groundbreaking ceremony will take place sometime next spring, and that the first phase of the project, a new wing of the high school that will be constructed over the current driveway of the building, will be open to students beginning in 2022.
The $291 million project was approved by Arlington residents through a debt-exclusion vote, with the state agreeing to contribute approximately $83 million to the project. The Building Committee expects the entire project to be completed by 2024.