By Katie Dahlstrom Herald Assistant Editor
The Clinton Herald
---- — CLINTON — The new Clinton Middle School timeline has been tentatively pushed back by a month due to delays in construction.
A July 2014 completion date now looks more like a mid-August finish. However, the timeline won’t be solidified until the building is enclosed early next year, according to Eric White, the project construction engineer with Estes Construction.
White told Clinton School Board members Monday the crews working on the new $21 million school have had 49 days of unproductive work on the site since beginning construction this spring.
“When we decided to do grading in the spring, none of us thought were going to have frost on the ground until the middle of April. None of us thought we were going to have a wet spring or a wet summer,” White said.
Construction on the classroom portion of the project is four weeks behind, prompting Estes to work with the site contractors and stack trades to make up for lost time.
The school is expected to welcome sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade students next school year.
White said while the project is expected to end in the middle of August, the timeline won’t be firm until January when the building is enclosed.
Board member Jim McGraw questioned the pace of the work at the site, saying it didn’t seem like a lot of people from the various trades were working there.
White explained some areas of the project have taken longer than expected and presented larger challenges than anticipated, which McGraw asserted wasn’t related to a rainy spring.
“I think we ought to be realistic though and not blame it on the weather. Blame it on the contractor that’s doing the job,” McGraw said.
Board member Jack Wenzel raised concerns about the contractors focusing more on compressing the work they have left to do than on the quality of the work.
“I don’t want us cutting corners to make a few hours here, a day there,” Wenzel said.
White told him the stacked trades would require more quality monitoring.
After White’s update, the board approved a $14,700 change order for soil remediation work to the 14th Street extension to fix the rutting and pumping of the subgrade soils. This leaves the project contingency at $290,657. The contingency started at $400,000.
Board members also approved three sewer easement agreements with neighboring farmers, allowing for the construction of the sewer line from the Millcreek pipeline to the new middle school property. The easements total $44,372 and, like the rest of the project, will be paid using the one-cent sales tax.