In little more than a week, Brooks School will mark one year since breaking ground on our $28 million new Center for the Arts building in the heart of campus during Alumni Weekend. And what a year it has been, as the construction crew kept moving on schedule from demolition during the hot, sticky summer, to framing and construction during the fall, and then roofing and walls despite the storm-filled, snowy winter.

Components of the project have moved so quickly, in fact, that work on the outside of the building will begin sooner than expected. As a result, starting Friday morning, the walkway from the Students Center to the front of the Danforth Gymnasium will be closed through the end of the school year in order to give construction crews the access that they need.

"As we began planning for the remaining site and landscape-work, we re-sequenced some activities in our schedule that were able to start sooner than anticipated," said Consigli Construction Project Manager Joe Napolitano '09. "Focusing on the North elevation [facing Wilder Dining Hall] in the next couple of weeks ... will allow us to get ahead, so we can then turn our focus to on the work at Main Street once school is out in early June."

The outside work beginning soon includes wood siding — starting on that side of the building facing the dining hall and then proceeding counterclockwise around the Center for the Arts — and the metal roofing.

"Excavation for the site stairs, next to the retaining wall, will also begin soon, to prep for the concrete work required to support the stairs," he added.

Meanwhile, the standing-seam metal roof work will continue for the next couple of months. Crews will finish with the part that faces the Admission Building before beginning on the roof pitches inside.

With more than 50 percent of the project done, Napolitano, Consigli Construction Vice President of Project Services Todd McCabe '89, P'15 and all of the many people involved are looking toward the next phases of the project, slated to be finished in late fall.

"Now that we have areas where walls are being closed up and spaces are becoming more defined it allows for the trades to begin to plan their finish work," explained Napolitano. "This past month, the painters mobilized and began working on the theater ceilings and walls. In a couple more weeks, we will have the flooring [subcontractors] begin tile in bathrooms."

By the end of June, the crew hopes to have wrapped up electrical and plumbing rough inspections for the upper level's west side, as well as building inspections to begin drywall in that area. The elevator installation and siding on the North elevation area should be done then too, as well as installation of the louvers.

For all the progress that he's seen, though, Napolitano is most excited to witness the theater finally coming together.

It's hasn't been easy, he admitted. "There are a lot of moving parts to coordinate as we continue to finish the theater from the top down, from electrical and audiovisual requirements to rigging, shades and millwork ...to ensure the space is maximized to its potential," he said.

But it'll all be worth it in the end. "Being an alumni, knowing what we had with the old auditorium, and understanding what we are building," he said, "the new space is going to be great for Brooks."