BEDFORD -- Work will begin this spring on a new middle school at Hanscom Air Force Base, after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers awarded the $31.6 million contract to a Lowell firm.

J & J contractors, Inc. will construct a new school to replace the existing 1950s building, which a Department of Defense study gave a failing rating in a 2011 study.

According to the Army Corps of Engineers, the school project will take approximately 27 months to complete after preliminary site work begins.

The existing school, which serves grades four to eight, will be torn down. The new facility will include general- purpose classrooms, a gymnasium, computer lab, science labs, supply areas, a music room and art room, offices, a learning-impaired instruction room and counseling space, as well as a new parking lot and playground.

Part of the Lincoln School District, Hanscom Middle School and Hanscom Primary School serve the children living in Hanscom Air Force Base housing.

Hanscom students then attend Bedford High School.

The middle school had an enrollment of 235 students at the start of the school year, with an average class size of 18.

U.S. Rep. Niki Tsongas, D-Lowell, helped get funding for the school through the Armed Services Committee, on which she serves, and was "very pleased" the funding was approved, according to her spokeswoman Katie Enos.

Hanscom has been mentioned in recent years as a base that could be closed by the Department of Defense, but Enos stopped short of saying the investment in Hanscom means the base will remain open.


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"Certainly I think an investment in the base is a positive sign, but these projects have a long track that they go on, and the process is usually set in motion years in advance," Enos said.

Staff writer Robert Mills contributed to this report.

Follow Katie Lannan on Twitter and Tout @katielannan.