Frank T. Wheeler Elementary School opens for business

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Students help cut the ribbon at the grand opening of the renovated Frank T. Wheeler Elementary School last Wednesday. (Photo by Janelle Morelli)

The Plainville community was invited to explore the renovated Wheeler Elementary School on Wednesday, March 4, during an open house event at the school, located at 15 Cleveland Memorial Drive.

Thomas Acari, a member of the town’s Capital Projects Building Committee said that once Plainville residents had voted via a referendum on the approximately $23 million budget, the committee began examining the needs and the wants of the Wheeler community. O&G Industries served as the construction manager for the renovate as new project, and their superintendent Matt Olshefski explained that meant that the existing structure of the building was kept intact as the interior infrastructure was updated.

“We were able to satisfy all of the needs for the school and several of the wants that are nice to have,” said Acari. This included increasing the security of the building by adding a connecting hallway between the previously unconnected wings, all new upgrades for HVAC, electrical, as well as all the telecommunications and fiber optics data.

Wheeler school sparks an attitude of gratitude: Fourth grader Courtney Thorpe points outs her sticky note on the gratitude wall in the cafeteria of the newly renovated Frank T. Wheeler School during last Wednesday’s ribbon cutting event. (Photo by Janelle Morelli)

According to Olshefski, the most challenging aspect of the project was renovating the building while it was still completely occupied—only one grade level was relocated to the other two elementary schools in town during the renovation, which was completed under budget and under schedule. Acari and Olshefski credits those feats to the teamwork that existed between the construction team, the design team, the school’s administration, and the town of Plainville.

Board of Education chairperson, Becky Tyrrell, shared similar sentiments, saying that even after serving on the BOE for 18 years, she is still amazed that residents will vote to support projects such as this one. Tyrrell also mentioned that the BOE has now turned their attention the Middle School of Plainville. MSP will soon be eligible for the same type of project, as the building will turn 30 years old during the 2023 school year.

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