Town Approves $24,000 Contract for Improvements at Patio in Front of Saxe Middle School


The patio area at the circle in front of Saxe Middle School. Credit: Michael Dinan

Town officials last week approved an approximately $24,000 contract with an East Otis, Mass.-based company to improve an area in front of Saxe Middle School that became a popular outdoor learning space amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Board of Selectmen during its regular meeting Feb. 21 voted unanimously in favor of the $23,814.32 contract with The Williams Stone Company

The town last year had extended a sidewalk “that comes straight down to the front of the school, with a nice patio that they’ve been using for outdoor classrooms and for areas that the kids to get out of doors, specifically after the success during COVID,” Public Works Director Tiger Mann said during the meeting, held at Town Hall and via videoconference. 

“They realized the success of outdoor classrooms which were a hit. The kids liked to be outside. It’s much better for them and overall learning. So this is to take care of the interior portion of the circle, and put a granite curb around the outside.”

First Selectman Kevin Moynihan and Selectmen Kathleen Corbet and Nick Williams voted 3-0 in favor of the contract.

Mann said the town is seeking to order the materials now for a July installation, after school lets out.

“They’re telling us to get our orders in, because each one of the granite companies basically maxed out on their production,” Mann said.

He added, “The further we delay, it will push us out even further.”

Corbet asked why the town doesn’t put in for a bulk order if it’s a better price.

Mann said that, in general, the town is seeking to “maximize each truck.” 

“So I don’t want to have a combined order of everything and then I’m short loading a couple of things, and then they give me everything and I don’t have any place to store it,” he said.

In addition, the stones needed for the work at Saxe Middle School are project-specific. 

The pieces “come in numbered, and it’s basically a puzzle that they put together.”

“There’s a plan that’s actually a laid-out plan,” he said. “It tells them exactly what pieces to put down because they have radius pieces with it, they’re not all straight pieces. The majority of them are curved and of a different shape so it works for us to order one-off on each one and then maximize the load by taking in just additional straight pieces to avoid the short load.”

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