Construction on the new East Somerville Community School is now underway, and the new building is scheduled to be complete in May, 2013, with students returning to the school in September of that year.
The East Somerville Community School burned down in December, 2007, and students have been dispersed throughout other Somerville schools since then.
Speaking at a meeting Monday night to update parents about the rebuilding effort, Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone said the project is now moving forward with "velocity."
Construction plans on the new school were temporarily delayed early this fall when construction bids came back high; but building began in earnest in November.
As it now stands, the cost of the new school is $5.8 million higher than originally expected—the previous budget for the school was $33.3 million, now it's $39.1 million.
The city is financing that $5.8 million with a two-percent loan from the Massachusetts School Building Authority, Curtatone said Monday night.
Originally, the budget shortfall was even greater: over $8 million, the mayor explained. He said the city and project managers worked to find about $2.5 million in savings through "value engineering." Designers and builders have made some changes to materials and plans to find those savings. For instance, they've pared back on landscaping, gone with a different heating, ventilation and air conditioning system, decreased the size of a planned green roof, and deferred plans for solar panels, among other things.
The mayor emphasized these changes would not effect the overall quality of the new school.
The new school, when complete, will serve students from kindergarten through eighth grade. It will have 36 classrooms, 4 specialty classrooms, a full-sized gym, an auditorium, a media center, a garden classroom and more.