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Phase one of New Leb running smoothly

January 10, 2018 GMT

GREENWICH — On a frosty blue-skyed morning, construction crews in highlighter-yellow jackets worked to ready the frozen site where a new building for New Lebanon School will be erected.

Where a grove of trees stood a month ago, an expanse of dirt sprawled Wednesday. Rocks the size of trash-can lids, pulled from the earth, were piled in one corner of the site, next to a mountain of top soil. Yellow construction machines hummed around the area or waited to be kicked to life. A red sign on a construction trailer declared 30 days of work had been completed without injury.

Since the groundbreaking for the new school on December 7, construction has been advancing on schedule, without delays from recent extreme cold and snow, said Dan Phillips, project manager.

The New Lebanon Building Committee held its first meeting at the construction site on Wednesday, conducting routine business and getting an update on construction progress.

So far, trees, stumps and top soil have been stripped from the site. Crews are in the process of using drilling machines to locate the contours of rock ledge below the soil, according to Phillips. Rocks removed from the ground will be crushed in the first week of February.

Some rock will need to be blasted away to clear room for the new school. While the blasting was predicted to occur in the first week of January, Phillips said Gilbane Construction is still surveying neighbors about the timing of the blasting in preparation. Those surveys should be completed by January 18 and blasting will follow, he said.

“Over the next week and a half, we are primarily drilling and getting ready for the blasting operation,” said Phillips.

Some blasting may occur during daytime school hours. New Lebanon School, Byram Shubert Library and neighbors of the property who request notice will be told in advance of blasting times, Phillips said.

“The blasting isn’t that loud but you will hear horns initiating the blast when it is all clear,” said Phillips.

Workers will develop the footprint of the new school and create a level grade on which to lay the foundation, Phillips said. Gilbane will import some structural fill in order to do so.

“We are filling that ravine in some places up to 15 feet,” Phillips said, pointing behind the existing school.

Crews will use large heaters to prevent the ground from freezing in the winter temperatures. The foundation will be poured in mid-February.

Beginning in February, the building committee will produce communications on the first of each month updating the public on construction, members said. The newsletters will be distributed electronically through the school district and displayed in the Byram Shubert Library.

The building committee is also working to purchase a camera that will take periodic photos of the site at regular intervals to record construction progress.

The earliest date students could move into the new building is February 2019. Construction, including demolition of the old building, site work and landscaping, will not be substantially completed until August 2019.

emunson@greenwichtime.com; Twitter: @emiliemunson