LINCOLN – Construction of a new Physical Education Center on the Lincoln High School campus is nearing a big milestone next week. Crews will be adding the final steel beam to the frame of the building during a “topping off” ceremony on Monday, Dec. 19, at 2:15 p.m. The public ceremony was pushed from Dec. 8, due to a delay in procuring a crane.
Town Council President Keith Macksoud, who chairs the PEC Building Committee, said the topping-off ceremony not only marks the last beam to be placed, but celebrates how “quickly and efficiently” the project came to fruition.
The Town Council adopted the resolution approving the PEC construction last September, “knowing full well that the building had to be substantially complete by June 2023 in order to take advantage of the extra money we received as bond premium,” Macksoud said.
With input from the School Committee and Budget Board, the council established the LHS Renovation Committee to oversee construction.
“Working collectively and collaboratively, the committee chose a “design/build” approach, using RGB as our architect and Ahlborg Construction as our contractor, and it has been full steam ahead to reach this goal of June 2023 completion,” Macksoud said.
The process, he said, has demonstrated, “what can happen when a town pulls together to create something that will improve the educational opportunities for our children, as well as be an asset for all of its citizens … and does so in a fiscally responsible manner.”
Ahead of next week’s topping-off, Supt. Larry Filippelli said watching construction happen directly across from his office at LHS has been “nothing short of amazing.”
“The construction is happening at a rapid pace,” he said, adding that the PEC will be “a wonderful addition to the athletic space for our students and community.”
It could not have been done without the cooperation and hard work of the PEC Building Committee and the support of the school and town officials, Filippelli noted, saying, “we are all so excited for the grand opening in 2023.”
School Committee Chairperson Joseph Goho told The Breeze that he’s likewise proud of the “collaborative spirit” exhibited by the school department, School Committee, the town, the budget board, building committee, and the community.
“It’s moving along on time, and on budget, and considering our current global economic circumstances, that is quite an accomplishment,” Goho said.
“The project itself is extremely exciting because it will enhance the physical education/health curriculum at the high school, be a very valuable resource for our student athletes and our athletic program, and also will be beneficial to our community youth leagues, residents, and all taxpayers.”
He said, “It’s really a fitting final piece to the Lincoln High School campus.”
Assistant Supt. Kevin McNamara said the physical education center will provide a finishing, top-notch space to the high school campus while offering “a tremendous benefit to so many core and extracurricular programs.”
“The PEC project has been an exciting one from the start,” he said. “The topping off ceremony is an important milestone in the process.”
Town Administrator Phil Gould said he’s pleased with the progress made on the building so far, agreeing that next week’s topping-off marks a significant step toward project completion.
“To date, there has been a lot of work and collaboration to make sure we do this right. Once completed, we will have a facility that will not just meet the needs of our students, but will be a resource for the entire community,” he said.
The town has historically struggled with a shortage of athletic spaces, and school officials have said the loss of the North Gym at LHS directly impacted physical education classes and after-school sports.
“I know from the town’s perspective, it has been very difficult for us to run recreational programs with the limited gym space,” Gould said. “The new PEC will truly be a game-changer for the town of Lincoln.”
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