During their monthly meeting held Monday evening, the United School District 234 Board of Education received an update on the bond project underway at all four schools.
“We’re going full force,” Nabholz representative Steve Bennett told the board, but added the projects will likely not be complete by the time the next school semester begins. “There’s too much stuff to get everything done this summer.”
Because of the delay before work started as the district and Nabholz worked to get everything within budget, Bennett said there has now also been a delay in getting contractors to bid and get on board with the project because they have been busy with other projects. Other underground surprises such as rock, poor soils, coal, unexpected foundations and other issues such as weather and traffic have slowed the project slightly as well.
Bennett said they have worked through most of those delays and are nearing the completion of the utilities portion of the project. The design for the auditorium has also been completed and is now going through quality control for approval. The pre-casting is done as well as much of the demolition and electrical work.
While in a perfect situation Bennett said they would like to have most if not all of the projects complete by the fall semester, he said they will probably have at least 60 percent of the bond projects done by that time. The crews will then complete as much as they can during the weekends and evening hours when the schools are empty and schedule larger projects for the following summer.
But while the work may not be done in its entirety, Bennett assured the board that all four schools will be functional and ready for students by the time classes begin. Other projects such as the new gymnasium and other work that will not hinder the staff and students will be completed later in the semester.
The school board members explained they initially received several comments and questions from the community concerning the work since the beginning stages were either done inside the buildings or underground and could not be seen. But they are more encouraged now that the progress is more visible.
“It’s fun to drive by and see the projects moving along,” board member Michelle Hudiburg said.
Board president Jordan Witt said he has also received questions about how the projects are staying within budget and if the quality of the job has been compromised in order to stay within that budget.
“We have not sacrificed anything for the integrity of the job,” Bennett said, saying some excess, more decorative options were cut, a larger contractor selected for part of the labor and certain materials they will use have changed in order to save money, but only as long as the quality was equal to or better than the original.
Superintendent Bob Beckham said in future weeks the school board will be invited to participate in a walking tour of the buildings to see the progress being made.