Millis school project on time, under budget

Construction, as of mid-August, underway at Millis' new elementary school.  The old school, where students are attending this year, is in the background. [Contributed Photo/Elementary School Building Committee]

Construction, as of mid-August, underway at Millis' new elementary school.  The old school, where students are attending this year, is in the background. [Contributed Photo/Elementary School Building Committee]

MILLIS – Students and staff heading back to class at Clyde Brown Elementary School Wednesday will see that construction on the site’s new school did not take a summer break.

“The site work is done, the foundations are all done,” Elementary School Building Committee Vice Chairwoman Diane Jurmain said. “We are working toward closing up the building, so we can work in the winter, making it weather-tight.”

Town Meeting approved the $51.76 million new elementary school in November 2017, to replace the aging Brown Elementary. Students will attend classes in the old building this year, which is on the same property as the new building, then move into the finished product next fall.

“The kids will be in there a year from now, just about,” Jurmain said.

Structural walls are all up, she said, and contractors poured the concrete for the new school’s gymnasium floor last week. Roof work is underway, and exterior masonry work should start this week.

The construction is a Massachusetts School Building Authority-approved project, which means Millis will see about $20.95 million in state funding to get it done.

So far, Jurmain said, the project is on time and under budget.

“We aren’t always able to say these things,” Jurmain said. “It’s a collaborative effort, and we have a really good team working on this. ... If we can end up under budget, we’ll be thrilled.”

The actual building could be complete as soon as July, Jurmain said, then road and sidewalk work will begin, and the old school will be demolished. An official opening is scheduled for the Monday after Labor Day 2019.

This school year, Jurmain said, contractors expect to make the building weather-tight for the winter by November. The walls, roof, and exterior masonry should be finished, and the majority of the remaining work will be inside.

That’s less distracting for students, Jurmain said.

“When we first started the school work, the kids were probably paying attention (to the big construction equipment),” she said. “Once the building’s closed up, there won’t be so much to see.”

The construction site is completely separate and fenced off from the current school site, however, she said, and deliveries and certain types of work have been scheduled outside of school hours or around events. That lessens the impact on students and staff in class.

For residents, the biggest change will be a new traffic pattern this school year.

There’s a new traffic light and left turn lane on Rte. 109, and the two roads flanking the old school – Park Road and Park Street – have changed purpose slightly.

Park Road is now two-way, and the only way to head west on Rte. 109 when leaving the school. Cars leaving via Park Street will only be able to take a right and go east.

School begins district-wide Wednesday. To see a graphic of the traffic changes and keep up-to-date on the project, head to the Millis School Project Facebook page, at

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Groundbreaking Held for Millis Elementary School

Millis Elementary students pose for groundbreaking photo

Millis Elementary students pose for groundbreaking photo

Millis, MA – A groundbreaking ceremony was held recently to celebrate the start of the new Clyde Brown Elementary School in Millis, Massachusetts.

The new 90,000sf Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS) energy-efficient facility is designed around a forward-thinking educational plan with flexibility for the future. A key feature of the design is to deploy the media center out to academic pods to create learning corridors that are expanded and useable for multiple modes of teaching.

Superintendent of Schools Nancy Gustafson welcomed guests, faculty, and students to the ceremony. “The outcome [of this school project process] truly exceeds my dreams,” she said. “We will have a building that not only brings the fifth grade back into a more developmentally appropriate setting but also alleviates the crowding in the middle-high school.”

Agostini Construction is the general contractor, and Compass Project Management is the OPM. The project architect is Tappé Architects.

Read more at High Profile