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Contractors working to seal Caribou Community School for winter

CARIBOU, Maine — Construction of the Caribou Community School is on track for completion in August of next year, according to Clerk of the Works Gregg Bouchard of CHA Architecture of Portland, and lead contractor Kevin Bowman of Bowman Constructors. 

Bouchard said contractors have been on the site for a total of 313 days as of Nov. 14 with 70-80 workers on site each day. He added that roughly 170 work days remain until completion.

“We’re about two thirds of the way to home base,” he said. 

Work will then enter the next phase once the new school is completed on Aug. 1, 2020. Bouchard said this includes demolishing both Teague Park Elementary School and the Caribou Middle School — two buildings that are adjacent to the new school on Bennett Drive. This phase will take place from Nov. 1, 2020, to Aug. 30, 2021.

To date, Bouchard said N.S. Giles have placed 3,440 yards of concrete and that the project recently celebrated a major milestone on Oct. 24 when the concrete and structural steel came together. The next major milestone in the project will be a ribbon cutting before its August 2020 completion. 

He said the many local subcontractors on the project have “been a pleasure to work with,” adding that their Aroostook County work ethic stands above work he’s seen in other parts of the state.

“My hat’s off to Kevin Bowman for the group he has subcontracted with to perform a majority of the work,” said Bouchard. “Bowman is performing a small portion of the work and has about 10 to 12 guys on site right now out of the total 72 to 80 workers.”

Both Bowman and Bouchard are working together with RSU 39 [Caribou and Stockholm], and providing updates every step of the way.

“They have been a treat to work with,” Bouchard said. “These regular meetings allow me to be completely transparent with them about what is going on.”

In addition to discussing the progress, Bouchard said he is tasked with creating a 20- to 30-page report each day with information about what occurred during that day and several pictures of the work site.

Bowman said he is “very pleased” with the current progress of the project, adding that the weather was much kinder this October than it was last year.

When the snow suddenly hit, Bowman said he and the subcontractors were able to handle the situation.

“We’re prepared for snow up here,” he said. “We have a big portable heater for concrete, and Soderberg Construction plowed out the site nicely. There’s been a lot of progress of the last classroom section. Once that’s closed in, we can turn on the heat and create interior slabs.”

Bowman concluded that, as of Nov. 14, all work is on schedule for the August 2020 completion date.

Bouchard, who grew up in Caribou, said he has a great deal of pride in the project, and that each day has been exciting so far.

“This building will be here for at least 75 years, or even 100 years,” he said. “We look forward to seeing the community enjoy it for a long period of time. I’ll have my own niece’s and nephew’s kids going here.”

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