Construction on schedule

Posted on: Jul 26, 2017

Construction on schedule

As summer’s midpoint recedes, construction at the Delano Public Schools campus is largely progressing as planned.

Jason Johnson, site supervisor for project management firm ICS, said that construction of the new intermediate school is slightly ahead of schedule, that the secondary school renovation is currently on track, and that improvements to campus athletic facilities are entering their final stages. Completed work includes the elevator installation at the Community Education building, along with the elementary school addition.

“It’s been a great project,” said Johnson. “There have not been any surprise costs. The budget has remained the same all the way through. There are some contingency budgets that have been used for things like soil corrections, but that’s exactly what they’re planned for and they’ve been adequate. At this point we feel pretty strong that they should remain adequate.”

Read on for an update on each aspect of the construction.

Intermediate school

A mild winter of 2016-17 has allowed some portions of the new Delano Intermediate School for grades 4-6 to move ahead of schedule.

“They had a great winter and that was key, because the summer has had a lot of rain,” said Johnson. “Fortunately, a lot of the footprint was done and the foundation was ready.”

While the school is not scheduled for completion until May of 2018, which will allow staff plenty of time to move in before the 2018-19 school year, the structure should be largely enclosed by September. Windows are scheduled to arrive around the end of July, and installation of a final section of roofing is underway.

Another aspect of the project that is substantially ahead of schedule is the expanded parking area near the intermediate school, which Johnson said should be available for high school student parking this fall. The original schedule had called for the parking area south of the current lot to be prepared next spring, but “that will all be in and paved and ready for the school to use this September,” said Johnson.

Secondary school

The most complicated aspect of the project has been the renovation of the high school and middle school building.

“This summer is the one that is full of surprises, and really it’s just opening up this old school,” said Johnson.

New Building and Grounds Coordinator Matt LaBeau said unexpected discoveries are inevitable with renovation projects, but none have led to delays of any significance yet.

“All construction people will tell you that building brand new is much easier than remodeling, because every time you cut into something you find things you didn’t know were there,” he said.

Still, Johnson said that contract workers from Breitbach continue to meet the requirements of daily and weekly schedules.

“We don’t have any concerns yet. Everything is tracking” Johnson said, adding that some finish items such as cabinets have the potential to cause delays if they do not arrive as planned. “Those are items that you are counting on falling into place as they are scheduled right now. There’s no reason to believe they won’t, but those are the types of things you can’t just control with manpower.”

While the necessary classrooms should be ready, the new high school entrance and offices will not be completed until October. With classrooms taking priority, Johnson said that aspect of the project is slightly behind schedule. Even on schedule, however, it would not have been ready for the start of school.

A barrier will be put up in the commons to block the open portion of the commons and kitchen area from ongoing construction once the school year begins, and access to the TAC will be available.

Certain areas of the building, including the FACS and music rooms, will be turned over to the school district around mid-August. The science rooms, with numerous cabinets requiring plumbing, are expected to be among the last areas turned over for school use before students arrive.

Excavation for the new diving well at the entrance of the middle school is expected to begin around October or November once the new high school entrance is ready for use.

Additional construction on areas like the district office, media center, performing arts center and more will continue throughout the school year and into next summer.

Athletic upgrades

The new turf football and soccer fields have been installed, the new track surface is nearing completion, and the two new tennis courts were scheduled to receive their playing surface around the turn of the month. The existing tennis courts will also be resurfaced at a later time.

In addition, final work is underway on the main stadium scoreboard, which is funded by outside sources rather than referendum dollars, and the installation of fencing continued into the final week of July.

“Realistically, there is no concern about the sports fields being ready for the first games at the end of August,” said Johnson.

Wrapping up

LaBeau said that while the secondary school remains a major construction site, the finishing touches before classes begin can occur relatively quickly.

“If you walked through and haven’t seen building projects before you would say, ‘This will never be ready for another six months.’ But everything will get done that needs to,” he said. “The prep work, everything you don’t see, is the hardest part. It’s amazing how fast it starts coming together.”

Johnson said that there are no red flags at this point.

“I think everything has gone pretty well,” he said. “Hopefully the community is excited to get a great campus here.”