EAST LONGMEADOW — The East Longmeadow High School building replacement project reached a new milestone recently with the selection of a construction manager.

East Longmeadow Public Schools announced that the East Longmeadow School Building Committee meeting unanimously selected Fontaine Bros. Inc. at its Jan. 25 meeting to oversee the construction of the new high school building and natatorium, which will house a new six-lane swimming pool. The project is part of the Massachusetts School Building Authority’s Model School Program.

“We are pleased to have Fontaine join our team to serve as the town’s construction manager for the high school and natatorium projects. Fontaine has a proven track record of working with the Massachusetts School Building Authority and communities across the commonwealth to successfully deliver K-12 projects and we look forward to leveraging their experience & expertise along with our owner’s project manager Skanska and architect Jones Whitsett to provide a pair of state-of-the-art community assets that can be enjoyed by all citizens of East Longmeadow for decades to come,” Stephen Chrusciel, chair of the East Longmeadow School Building Committee, said in a prepared statement.

Voters ended an approximately two-year debate on whether to renovate or replace the aging school building and how to fund the work at the polls during the Nov. 7, 2023 election, supporting two separate ballot measures that authorized borrowing for the project. Residents supported a debt exclusion on the $177.5 million school building by a vote of 3,577-1,617 and a separate debt exclusion for the $16.79 million natatorium, 3,219-1,948.

The Massachusetts School Building Authority will contribute $82 million in reimbursements to the project, leaving East Longmeadow taxpayers to cover the remaining $95.12 million on the school building. The natatorium is not eligible for MSBA reimbursement.

Construction of the new facility is set to expected to begin this summer and completed by mid-2026. Demolition of the old building and other site work will be completed by 2027. The 191,796-square-foot facility will have the capacity to serve 800 students in grades 9-12. East Longmeadow’s enrollment at the high school dipped below 800 for the first time in the 2023-24 school year at 771, more than 100 fewer than 10 years ago when the high school had 875 students in 2014-15, according to data provided the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. High school enrollment has been steadily declining after reaching a post-millennium peak of 938 in 2006-07.

Fontaine Bros., based in Springfield, was the only local bidder to be considered a finalist, according to the school department. Locally, the firm constructed Minnechaug Regional High School and West Springfield High School, both of which were built through the MSBA Model School Program, and Chicopee Comprehensive High School. Notable local non-educational projects involving Fontain Bros. include the Holyoke, South Hadley and Chicopee public libraries, Springfield’s South End Community Center, the Pioneer Valley Transit Authority’s operations and vehicle maintenance facility on Cottage Street in Springfield and the renovation and restoration of 31 Elm St. at Court Square in Springfield to create market-rate housing.

“Our family and our entire company couldn’t be more excited to have been selected to build the new East Longmeadow High School and natatorium. Our team is made up of residents, alumni, and parents of alumni who are committed to making sure this project is a huge success for the community. We are thrilled to have been entrusted with executing such an important investment, and we look forward to partnering with our network of local subcontractors, suppliers, vendors, and tradespeople on this transformative project for the town of East Longmeadow,” said Fontaine Bros. CEO Dave Fontaine Jr. in the school department’s announcement.

The School Building Committee also said it plans to host a community forum on April 11 at 6 p.m. in the high school cafeteria to review design updates and introduce members of the Fontaine construction team.