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Hurricane Resistant Windows May Cost School $148,000

Architects, glass manufacturers failed to consider the impact of 120 mph wind on glass wall at the school's front.

Installing hurricane-resistant windows on the front of the new Glover School may cost the $25 million construction project an extra $148,000, the architect told the school building committee last week.

The architects and windows manufacturer did not “factor in” the proximity of the school to the Atlantic Ocean. Because Marblehead could be hit by a hurricane, the 12-foot, eight-inch windows would have to be thick enough to withstand 120 mile-per-hour windows, said project architect Douglas Roberts with JCJ Architecture. The windows in the current design would withstand up to 110 mile-per-hour winds.

“It is something that fell through the cracks,” Roberts told School Superintendent Dr. Gregory Maass.

If all of the 7,500 square feet of windows has to be the stronger glass, it could cost the project $148,000, which would have to come out of the $652,000 left in the project's contingency funds.

Committee Chairman Richard Nohelty was told that the costs of the windows could be a big hit early in the project, but Chuck Adam, the school construction project manager, said most of the unknowns and design changes on a project happen early in the process.

Roberts said the architects “are looking at other options” for the windows. It is possible that only 4,000 square feet of glass may have to be the stronger, more expensive glass, he said.

The costs could go up from $68 a square foot to as much as $85 a square foot, he told the committee.

Adam said he would present the change order to the Massachusetts School Building Authority for partial reimbursement. The state agency is paying 40 percent of the total cost of the $25 million school.

But the MSBA does not reimburse the town for design change orders.

“I will have that discussion” with the MSBA, Adam told the committee.

Adam told the committee that the project is moving along well. The foundation will be completed by the end of January, which is ahead of schedule. A total of 250 yards of concrete have already been poured, he said.

The building committee is scheduled to meet again on Jan. 31 when Nohelty said he hopes the architects will have more information about the windows.

Nick January 24, 2013 at 06:20 PM
This is completely unnecessary....most people who live directly on the water in town dont have these...
Frank January 24, 2013 at 06:54 PM
Maybe the each window becomes 2 six foot high not one 12 foot high.
chip randall January 24, 2013 at 08:16 PM
The architect and/or builder or glass manufacturers are bonded aren't they ? Why aren't they responsible for their failure of the design ?
kate January 24, 2013 at 09:08 PM
Who is requiring this? Is this a building code issue or is this coming from another party such as insurance company?
The Voice of Reason February 09, 2013 at 03:19 PM
4 comments... That's it people ??? We get what we deserve...

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