Construction Shakes BHS

Danger Deemed Within Acceptable Limits


Oscar Jacobsen

Construction adjacent to Macy’s

Oscar Jacobsen, Staff Writer

Since January 9, dtBHS has experienced strong vibrations from the construction site adjacent to the school.

“I was in orchestra and we were about to start playing,” Gretchen Fitzgerald ‘25 said. “Then the whole building just started vibrating and we thought it was gonna fall down. We all just stopped and were looking at each other like ‘what is happening?’”

The construction team is compacting the ground using vibratory rollers in order to construct the proposed CityPlace Burlington, a ten story retail, apartment and restaurant complex. Such tasks have created vibrations which have rocked nearby buildings. When the school first started experiencing shaking from the construction on January 9, the majority of students were caught off guard, unaware of the cause.

The vibrations the school experiences are being monitored by seismograph. According to Dave Hillman, the manager of the construction site, a group of geotechnical engineers evaluated the potential danger and deemed the vibrations well within acceptable limits. According to Hillman, structural damage to the Macy’s building could only occur above a peak vibration velocity of 0.50 inches per second. So far, the vibrations have never reached a velocity higher than 0.23 inches per second. To ensure shaking stays within this threshold, the seismographs will raise an alarm if vibrations reach a velocity of 0.30 inches per second or higher. Though it was initially shocking, Interim Principal Amy Mellencamp believes students have adjusted quickly.

“I think the first couple of times people were startled and wondered about it, but then, like a lot of things, you sort of get used to it,” Mellencamp said.

The complex won’t be finished until November of 2025 which means students will likely feel the effects of construction as long as we are in the Macy’s building. Though students have adjusted to the shaking, Fitzgerald feels her learning is still disrupted.

“A couple of times, we’ve been trying to copy down notes from a board and it’s kind of hard to see when it’s shaking,” Fitzgerald said. “Your paper is shaking, the board shaking, the chair shaking, everything shaking, but usually it doesn’t last very long.”

Despite her initial surprise, Fitzgerald is not worried about her safety during the periods of vibration.

“It would be really bad if something happened because everyone would get sued and stuff,” Fitzgerald said. “And so I feel like if they know the risks, they’re not going to do unsafe construction.”

For Desmond Snyder ‘25 the shaking is generally positive.

“I think it actually is kind of exciting,” Snyder said. “Knowing that it’s not going to actually cause danger, or harm to any student. It’s cool. It kind of spices up the day.”