Music students might have to conduct rehearsals in the wrestling room for a few weeks and lunches might have to be catered in from an off-site cafeteria, but the Glenwood Community School District is set on opening its new high school on Wednesday, Aug. 26.
That’s the plan - at least for now.
With the scheduled start of the 2009-2010 school year six weeks away, the Glenwood Board of Education was told earlier this week that a substantial amount of work still needs to be completed before the $21 million building is finished. However, enough of the school is expected to be done in time for students to start attending classes in the facility on Aug. 26.
Ted Mintle, hired by the school district to oversee workmanship during the construction process, is projecting a total completion date of November or December. The kitchen, music classrooms and auditorium are three areas unlikely to be completed when the school year starts. Mintle said the auditorium chairs aren’t even scheduled to be delivered to the school until the first week of October.
The perceived lack of progress at the construction site of the new high school was the focus of some heated discussion at an hour-long work session prior to Monday’s regular school board meeting.
Repeating a statement he made at a similar meeting in April, board member Frank Overhue called the construction project “a mess.” Overhue and fellow board member Bill Agan spoke critically of Construction Services, Incorporated (CSI), the general contractor for the project.
Overhue said CSI has “no credibility,” noting that he spoke to some of the workers at the job site who “just laughed” when he asked them if the project would be completed in time for the start of the school year.
Dave Egr, CSI on-site project manager, blamed the lack of progress on a handful of subpar sub-contractors who’ve had to be replaced.
Agan questioned why CSI is having so much difficulty getting sub-contractors to carry out work in a timely manner.
“I just don’t understand how you can have somebody working for you and they tell you what they’re going to do,” Agan said.
Board members and GCSD Superintendent Dr. Stan Sibley also voiced concerns about state fire code standards that must be met and inspections that must be completed before the building can be occupied.
GCHS principal Kerry Newman said the school needs to be ready for occupancy by mid-August so that teachers can put their classrooms together and parents will have adequate time to come to the school office to register their children for classes or to address other issues with school personnel.
Dave Greenwood, the school district’s director of operations, told board members that his “gut feeling” is that the timeline for an August occupancy can be met. Greenwood noted that some school district employees are now actually assisting with some of the construction work, such as hanging ceiling tiles.
“We will continue to drive this train through,” Greenwood said. “Ready or not, here we come.”
Agan said he wants to see daily communication about the project between CSI officials and Sibley as the start of the school year draws closer.
“There’s no wiggle room,” Agan said.
The school board will reconvene on July 27 at 4 p.m. for a special meeting to discuss the project and likely make a final decision on where and when the new school year will start for high school students.
Alternative possibilities include delaying the start of high school classes until the building is ready for occupancy or temporarily conducting classes in another facility, such as the Meyer Building on the campus of the Glenwood Resource Center.