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.

Letter To The Editor: A Yes Vote On Question 4 Is An Investment In Belmont’s Future

Photo: One of the modular units at the Burbank. 

To the editor:

If you’re like me, you really love living here in Belmont. I’ve yet to find another suburb of Boston that has quite the same small-town community feel. Belmont residents – from those who have lived here their entire lives to those who are newly arrived – know how special our community is, and understand the importance of preserving and nurturing what makes Belmont unlike any other town in Massachusetts. Investing in our community with a YES vote in support of the 7-12 school preserves and protects what has made Belmont so special all these years.

On Nov. 6, it is up to all of us to decide what kind of town we want to be moving forward. Do we want to preserve what we love about the Belmont community by investing in it, or do we want to stand idle with no sustainable solution to the increasing demands on our school system?  

The reality is this: No matter what happens on Nov. 6, our taxes are going up to address the crisis of overcrowding and the dire needs of our high school.  The decision we all have to make is where do I want my taxes going when it comes to our town’s education system?  

  • A NO vote means we’re paying an expected $247 million to rebuild and repair a crumbling, asbestos-filled high school building (that is not ADA compliant), along with overcrowded elementary schools and 48 modular trailers to house our children. 48 modulars! Are you wondering what 48 modulars look like? Take a walk behind the Burbank School and check out the monstrous structure that looms over half of the blacktop playspace. That is only four modulars. Imagine twelve times that number, all across our schools.
  • A YES vote is an investment of $213 million (that’s right, it’s projected to cost $34 million less than the costs of a NO vote) to solve our overcrowding crisis while also ensuring our children are learning in up-to-date schools that provide a safe, supportive, nurturing environment.

Still undecided? Stop by that Burbank School blacktop one morning around 8:35 a.m. No, not to see the modular trailers, but to see the children waiting to enter the school. These kids are incredible. They are truly special, just like our town. And these kids, along with all of Belmont’s current elementary school children, would be the first students to step into the new 7-12 school once it opens. Join me in looking back on Nov. 6 as the day that you decided to invest in these kids and the future of our incredible town.

I hope you will join me in voting YES on Tuesday, Nov. 6th.

Reed Bundy

School Street 

Town Meeting Member Precinct 1