Middle School Expansion Project Moving Forward

Middle School Expansion Project Moving Forward
File photo of Stephen Decatur Middle School in Berlin

NEWARK– The Worcester County Board of Education approved bids for the addition at Stephen Decatur Middle School last week.

On Sept. 21, the school board voted 5-0 to approve bids totaling $11,093,860 for the addition of a new wing to Stephen Decatur Middle. School board member Jon Andes, who was superintendent when the facility was originally built, made the motion to approve the bids.

“It’s so nice to have this wing finally done 25 years later,” he said.

The addition will add 24,000 square feet to the school. The new wing will include 12 general classrooms as well as four science labs and storage and meeting space.

Joe Price, the school system’s facilities planner, told the school board bids were opened in mid-August and that 51 bids had been received for 23 bid packages. Whiting-Turner Contracting Corporation, the project’s construction manager, reviewed bids prior to the recommendation for approval. According to a timeline shared earlier this year, construction should begin this fall and be complete by December 2022.

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At Tuesday’s meeting the board also approved the school system’s FY 2023 Capital Improvement Program (CIP). The document, required by the state, is a six-year plan that allows the Maryland Interagency Commission on School Construction to identify and schedule funding for public school construction needs.

“The FY 2023 Capital Improvement Program includes a summary of previously approved projects and identifies future project requests, including roof replacement projects at Snow Hill Middle/Cedar Chapel Special and Pocomoke Elementary Schools, a Buckingham Elementary Replacement School project and a Snow Hill Elementary Replacement School project,” the board’s agenda read.

Current projects listed in the CIP include the new Showell Elementary School, which was completed in 2020; a Pocomoke Middle School roof replacement, which is currently underway; and the Stephen Decatur Middle addition.

Price said the Pocomoke Middle School roof replacement was expected to be done by now but that the contractor hadn’t ordered enough materials and the work had been delayed. Crews are now working 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. each day so as not to interfere with instructional time during the school day.

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

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Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.