HAMSTEAD — HAMPSTEAD -- Construction will begin this week on a water main needed to give adequate fire protection to the Spring Garden Elementary School on Boxwood Drive by the time it opens next fall.
The town awarded the project to Walsh Equipment and Construction of Manchester, the lowest of four bidders, said John Riley, town manager. The $232,000 bid submitted by Walsh was about $100,000 less than the town had expected and about $60,000 less than the highest bid.
The project has been in the planning stages for 1 years.
"Assoon as we found out there was going to be a school down there, we did a fire-flow analysis," Riley said. The analysis showed the existing water pipes serving the area wouldn't provide enough water to fighta fire at the $5.4 million school, he said.
The water main also will ensure the school has enough water pressure for the extra load of500 students flushing toilets and drinking from water fountains, said Vernon Smith, director of school support services for Carroll County schools.
Because the main is needed for the school, the county is covering half the cost of the job and lending the town the money for the other half, Riley said.
He said half of the loan will be repaid through the water service charges paid by all Hampstead water users. The water main project will not raise those charges, he said.
Work was to begin last week but was delayed by the snow and ice, Riley said. The project should take about a month to complete. Workers will dig a trench, lay the pipe about 4 feet below ground and connect it at each end to existing mains.
The pipe will run from Shiloh Road to Houcksville Road, south along the railroad tracks, and then tie into a main below Route 30 and Ralph Street.
The town had some trouble legally defining the 16-foot-wide pipeline right of way, which delayed the advertising for bids on the project, Riley said.
But the delays in building the pipe won't affect the school's construction or its planned September opening, Smith said. He hopes the school's contractor will complete the building by April 1 so that school personnel can begin furnishing it. This means the water main will also haveto be finished by April, Smith said.
The new school will ease overcrowding at Hampstead's elementary school on Shiloh Road. The schoolis using portable classrooms because its more than 900 students exceed the 550-student capacity of the original building.
Spring Garden, one of six major school construction and renovation projects in the county, is expected to open with 500 students.