Drillin’ for … Thermals As 7-12 School Project Gets Underway

Photo: They’re drillin’ on the rugby field, lookin’ for geothermal heat.

It could have been mistaken for an oil derrick drillin’ for Texas Tea (1960s cultural reference) a few meters from the track at Harris Field adjacent Concord Avenue.

But what the team was boring 500 feet into the earth since Dec. 12 was to measure the underground thermal properties and used that information to design the geothermal system as part of the heating and cooling system for the new 7-12 grade school building on the site of Belmont High School set for completion in 2023.

It is just one part of a handful of on-site projects now underway under the care of Skanska, the multinational firm which was selected the project’s construction manager this past May.

According to Skanska, preliminary work on the new building is underway to prepare for the beginning of construction in June 2019:

  • Less than a week after town voters approved a $213 million debt exclusion to construct the new school, a complete survey of the entire campus site began on Nov. 14 and ran through Nov. 30.
  • The geothermal test wells will run through Jan. 11, 2019
  • On the same day as the drilling commenced, a trailer housing the project team was moved into the rear of Belmont High School and will remain through June 2019 when construction of the site begins.
  • And the day after the school goes on winter recess, the entryway to the Wenner Field House – from the outside doors near the weight room to the field house – will be closed as the ceiling is removed and fireproofing abatement begins, lasting until New Year’s Eve 2018. 

As for the derricks on the rugby field, three geothermal wells will be installed around the existing Belmont High School for testing. A closed loop HDPE pipe will be installed inside the borehole and the borehole will be completely grouted to form the geothermal well and thermal conductivity testing will begin. A temporary manhole cover will be set over each of the geothermal wells and the area around will be restored upon completion.

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