By Katie Dahlstrom
CLINTON - This year’s heavy rains have claimed their latest victim: The new Clinton middle school. Because of rain delays, the construction of the facility slated to open for the 2014-2015 school year is behind schedule.
Eric White with Estes Construction gave members of the Clinton School Board during their Monday meeting an update on the progress of construction. He said the schedule for the project had to be altered, but he didn’t want to put a time frame on how much it had been pushed back at this stage.
“I think what we need to do is once we have a roof on it is look at the options,” White said. “We’re behind, there’s no question about that, where we wanted to be at the time.”
A groundbreaking for the $21 million project, which is being funded with the one cent sales tax, was held in April. When it opens, sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade students will attend class in the building, which is being constructed at the corner of 13th Avenue North and 16th Street Northwest.
The school will have classrooms that facilitate inquiry-based learning and foster education technology and replace Washington Middle School, which was built in 1935, and Lyons Middle School, built in 1971.
White shared the progress that has been made at the site in the last month, such as installing stone columns for the foundation. He said crews are about two days away from having the area that will be underneath the two-story section of the building complete. They have also made progress on the foundation of one of the sections.
Site stormsewer is about wrapped up, White said. They have also made the opening to 13th Avenue North where the entrance to the school will be.
This month, stone column work and retaining wall work will continue. The first shipment of structural steel for the project will arrive early next month.
Because of the rain, he explained, the project timeline was changed. In addition to the steps Estes has already implemented because of the revised time schedule, White said his company is looking into stacking trades or overtime work to bring the project back up to speed.
Board members as well as Superintendent Deb Olson said they often face questions from the public about the new school because of the excitement in the community.
“I think everyone understands we’ve had a wet spring, it’s not your guys’ fault, I don’t know if I speak for everybody here, but I think we’re all getting a little bit nervous,” board member Jack Wenzel said.
White said he would like to wait until the structure is closed and the roof is up in December before sharing the impact of the weather delays, but assured the board he is aware of where construction is and where it needs to be.