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Western Mass high school construction projects aided by unseasonable Winter Weather

SPRINGFIELD, Mass (WGGB) — The mild winter has been bad for businesses that depend on cold weather, but its been a boon for the local construction industry.

The biggest construction projects in progress right now are the schools being built in Springfield, West Springfield, Longmeadow, and beyond.

And while the construction projects don’t shut down in the winter time, this unseasonably mild winter has been just what the doctor ordered for the guys who toil in the elements.

“You don’t wear as many layers so things go by quicker.  Yeah, everything goes by smoother.”

Easthampton’s Gary Sheldon has been working in the elements for more than a decade.  Tuesday he was putting the finishing touches on the new Putnam high school in Springfield.

He said he’ll take these kinds of working conditions any day of the week.

“We get a lot more work done,” said Sheldon.   “The weather usually decides what we can and can’t do throughout the year.  So this nice warm and dry winter lets us get a lot of work done.”

Meantime across the river in West Springfield Mark Sklenka, the project manager at the new West Springfield high school echoed the sentiments of most of the construction workers and contractors we spoke to today.

Work was progressing nicely at the Westside Project.  There hasn’t been much snow to push out of the way, and that makes everything go smoothly.

“We’re able to move earth without having to deal with stockpiles of snow,” said project manager Mark Sklenka.   “When you get snow during construction you have to move it away, stockpile it, so you can continue with your site work.  When you don’t have snow, you’re simply moving soil and getting the site in position for actual physical construction.”

Aside from the freak October snow storm we all went through, the great weather has been the rule rather than the exception.  Its been the same routine in Longmeadow, where the high school project has been on cruise control.

Companies have saved money by not having to heat the work area as much, or pay for costly snow removal.

“It has been wonderful, said Clerk of the Work Rob Alger.    “We’ve been able to get all the concrete slabs poured, which in this weather, this time of year, is pretty difficult.  We’ve gotten all of our concrete in now.  We’re doing interior framing.  We’re going to start spraying on fire proofing next week.  The way the weather forecast looks we’re going to be in pretty good shape.  So it’s helping progress, it really is.”

There are so many schools all across Western Massachusetts that are currently under construction.  But what’s happening in Springfield, Westside, and Longmeadow is what’s happening everywhere.   And it looks like Wednesday is going to be another spring-like day here in the Pioneer Valley.

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