By Oliver Lazenby
Contractors working on the Blaine High School renovation and replacement project lost 22 workdays due to the cold, but construction could be back on schedule soon.
The main contractor, Spee West Construction, is already working on a plan to make up for lost time, district project manager Jim Kenoyer told the Blaine school board at its March 6 meeting. For the last four weeks, the site has been filled with extra workers and people working overtime, he said.
“Instead of three steelworkers there are six or seven there, for example,” Kenoyer said. “We’re hoping to be back on track by about the third week of April.”
Cold temperatures delayed construction of the masonry block walls, since mortar for the blocks needs to be at least 40 degrees to be workable. Even as crews worked to get back on track, they lost a day on Monday, February 27, when snow dusted the school.
Kenoyer hopes to get back on schedule as soon as possible, before the more complicated finishing stages. Toward the end of this phase of construction, two to three dozen contractors will be on site, making any time gains or extra workers harder to orchestrate, he said.
“The idea is to get caught up while we just have block workers, steel workers and electricians,” Kenoyer said. “We don’t want to let the schedule lag so that we’re behind schedule when we get into all the specialty trades.”
Phase one of the roughly $38 million project is scheduled to be done in August 2017, and will include a cafeteria, theater, career technical education shop, classroom space, kitchen, band and choir rooms, greenhouse and tennis courts.
Phase two should start in late June 2017 and finish in August 2018. That phase includes a two-story classroom building that will connect phase one to the current science building. Phase three, which includes renovating the library and office areas, will be underway in June 2018.
The district originally planned to replace the grandstands at the football stadium as part of this project, but construction bids came in over budget and the district cut that part of the project in June 2016.
The district is considering an aluminum grandstand – rather than the concrete one it originally planned for – and district officials will visit Monroe High School to tour its new aluminum grandstand later this month. An aluminum grandstand could be considered as a fourth phase of the high school construction, according to a plan presented at the meeting.