HOLYOKE — With the demolition of the old Peck School building now complete, general contractor Fontaine Bros. have been selected and announced as the lowest bidder out of several companies pre-qualified to bid, the district announced on Feb. 5.

The bids were reviewed by the city of Holyoke, members of the School Building Committee and the consultant team of Mount Vernon Group Architects and Anser Advisory. Construction will begin, on schedule, later this month.

“We are grateful for the opportunity to work with Fontaine Bros. in the construction of a new middle school in Holyoke. As the demolition work was underway, it was heartwarming to listen to the tales shared by former students and staff of Peck School,” said Mayor Joshua Garcia. “In Holyoke, we understand that schools serve not just as educational institutions but also as hubs for community interaction and growth. I’m proud of the immense investment by our community in our Holyoke youth.”

The abatement, demolition and site preparation have been completed by American Environmental Inc., a Holyoke company. 36 bricks from the old Peck building have been saved to be used in a future fundraiser organized by school leaders or a parent organization.

Fontaine Bros. was founded in 1933 and has offices in Springfield and Worcester.

In its near century existance, the company has built numerous schools in the Pioneer Valley, including schools in Holyoke, Chicopee, Granby and Springfield.
The Goodnow Elementary School in Marlborough was built by Fontaine Bros., from which Holyoke’s middle school design is based as part of the Model School Program offered by the Massachusetts School Building Authority.

Fontaine’s most recent project in Holyoke was the expansion of the Holyoke Public Library.

Holyoke Public Schools Chief of Strategy and Turnaround Erin Linville told Reminder Publishing that state law and regulations for large school construction projects require that the district accept the lowest qualified bidder.

“We are eager to work with Fontaine Bros.,” Linville said, adding that their experience makes them a great partner for the project. “Additionally, Fontaine Bros. is familiar with Holyoke and our desire to build a new middle school because they were the company that was chosen a few years ago, when we were hoping to build two new middle schools but didn’t receive the funding to do so.”

The new middle school is an important component of Holyoke’s efforts to strengthen learning opportunities and reimagine the middle school experience. The new middle school will replace the poorly designed, energy-inefficient Peck Middle School that no longer met the needs of a modern education.

“We are thankful that the project is running on schedule, as we look forward to welcoming students and staff to a brand new school building in the second half of 2025,” said Superintendent Anthony Soto.

The $86.5 million project was officially approved in June 2023 by the city of Holyoke and the MSBA. Of the total $86.5 million costs for demolishing Peck and building a new middle school, the city of Holyoke is responsible for paying approximately $40 million and the MSBA will reimburse approximately $46 million. Currently, the estimated project costs are under budget.

Linville said construction is expected to be in full swing in March and a School Committee subcommittee will be working on identifying a new name for the school building throughout this year. Plans are for the school to open by the fall or winter of 2025 and the district will be identifying staff and plans for a successful new school opening.

More information is available at hps.holyoke.ma.us/page/new-middle-school.

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