Inside the middle school construction project

Nine months have passed since the Haverford School first announced its $50 million Character at Our Core campaign. A major part of this ambitious project, the new middle school is estimated to cost $18 million, with a capacious area of 32,440 square feet. The building will incorporate the newest technologies, far exceeding the old middle school in every facet.

     While the construction of the new middle school received much attention during the past few months, students have received few updates regarding its timeline. 

     “All the progress is so interesting, I can’t wait to see what the finished middle school will look like,” Third Former Matthew Kang said. 

     Like Kang, many students wonder, “What is happening down there at the construction site?”

     The construction company responsible for building the new middle school, Adams Bickel, has made some major advancements in the past few months. 

     “We just got the metal decking on the roof,” Mr. Anthony Fisher, the Superintendent of the team, said. “We are going to be installing the roof material next week. Going into Christmas break, we will have all the roof done, and the outside walls will be built.” 

    What happens later after Christmas will be less visible. 

     “January, February, and March are gonna look like nothing is going on.” Mr. Fisher said, “but all that inside stuff is really going to be happening, between electrical work, plumbing, HBAC, drywall, and framing.” 

     The rest of December will be spent working on the exterior of the building, while the next few months are reserved for interior work.

     “It’s hard. It’s like building in the city. You’re landlocked, so you need to be able to work around each other, everyone has to be on the same team. You have a lot of moving parts, a lot of kids walking around, a lot of teachers. Everyone is really looking at you all the time,” Mr. Fisher said. 

     Aside from sharing the workers’ own experience, Mr. Fisher also reminds the students to remain aware around the construction site and keep their eyes off their phones while passing by.

     Building the new middle is not an easy task, but the experienced workers accepted this challenge and conquered the difficulties. The project has been progressing at an ideal pace.

     The workers themselves, while out on this job, also appreciate the growth of this project.

    Mr. Fisher said, “A lot of these guys saw what the old middle school looked like, and the plans for the new middle school. The difference is unbelievable.” 

     This rapidly advancing construction project at the heart of the campus has impressed both the students and the workers themselves.

     General Manager of Facilities Mr. Bob Wisler explained why this project has been successful so far.

     “When you have a project this big, it’s all about how the team works together. From a communication standpoint, the two companies, The Haverford School and Adam Bickel, have gotten together and are on the same page. And if we have that, we can accomplish anything,” Mr. Wisler said. 

     Aside from updates on the construction site, head of the middle school Dr. Jay Greytok is also pleased with the work’s progress. 

     “We are very excited to have a wonderful new space that will fit the future of the school and will allow us to have some programming that we haven’t had before, particularly around our ‘makerspace,’” Dr. Greytok said. “Plus, we’d also like to give the tennis team their courts back.” 

    Keeping track of the construction has become one of Dr. Greytok’s top priorities.

     “I talk to Mr. Fisher at least once a week, and like any expecting parent, I’m very excited to welcome our new building,” Dr. Greytok said. 

      In the meantime, Dr. Greytok also wants the middle school students to know more about the new building that they are about to move into. Science teacher Mr. Mario Masso has given middle school students talks about the construction site on multiple occasions.

     While the new middle school is expected to be completed by next August, the current First Form will be the oldest students moving into the building next year in September. Two First Formers shared their gratitude and excitement for the new middle school. 

     “We feel sorry for the Second Form,” First Formers Zac Fuscaldo and Will Suter said, “but we are really excited for the new building!”

Author: Jingyuan Chen '23

Jingyuan Chen has written for The Index since 2019. His news piece “Inside the middle school construction project” and his opinion “What can the U.S. learn from Chinese media censorship?” each earned a Silver Key from the 2020 Philadelphia-area Writing Awards.