CLINTON — Even in the calculated regiment of construction, not everything is within control.
When the Clinton Community School Board convenes for its March 3 regular meeting, it will consider the 2014-15 school calendar. That schedule will not show that the new middle school will open in August like its sister facilities.
Intense weather conditions dating back to April have caused contractors to lose more than 60 construction days.
"It's very frustrating, especially when you know the importance of this project on the Clinton community," said Eric White, middle school project manager from Estes Construction. "We work through winters and springs all the time and can push construction through. For some reason, this year hasn't been favorable."
The original timetable for completion slated the district would receive the building construction-free in July this year. White said construction hit road blocks right from the onset.
Heavier than normal precipitation in April delayed ground movement by two weeks, and continued rain through May and June caused grading problems, White said. By September, he lost 44 construction days.
Then came the severe winter season.
"This winter has been a bad winter," White said. "We can't do anything with what's happened to this project."
Contractors lost 15 days in December, he said. That month, followed by January and February, brought more snow than usual, numerous days below zero and unrelenting winds. Because of the delays early in the construction, contractors were already behind on phases to install roofing and other building components.
When the severe weather hit, White said contractors were at risk with roofing and other tasks. Sub-zero temperatures created safety issues as well.
"It's important for us to look forward," he said.
White informed school board members in January of the delays. Now, the district won't receive a construction-free building until mid-October.
Clinton School District Superintendent Deb Olson said the district's tentative move-in date will be after Thanksgiving break. She said it's too difficult to move hundreds of students and teachers into the facility during a short span and would rather do so incrementally to minimize instructional impact.
"I have to move 850 children and you can't do that over the weekend," she said. "I can't do it in one day. I'll probably have close to 10 (moving) days before it's all said and done."
The district also will entertain an extended Thanksgiving break, with students being off the entire week of Thanksgiving, Olson said, with the ability to occupy Clinton Middle School in early December.
"There will be a lot of things that move between Oct. 15 and November that make it possible to move by that week's time," Olson said.
Meanwhile, White said he's worked with contractors to "resequence" work flow; the construction group altered its schedule and made more divisions in tasks to accomplish more each day.
He's proud of the way builders have handled the severe weather hurdles.
"There's a lot to be proud of and there's a lot to look forward to," White said. "The middle school is going to be a great thing for the city of Clinton."