The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

March 25, 2014

Projects shuffled as ground thaws

By Amy Kent Herald Staff Writer
The Clinton Herald

---- — CLINTON -- Progress is moving along at the Clinton Middle School, although contractors feel they may be teetering on the edge of their projected schedule.

Unfavorable weather and a brutal winter have delayed some aspects of the project, which was anticipated to be completed by August. As the ground slowly begins to thaw after a number of below zero degree days in January, construction crews are hoping to get back to work quickly.

“I think at this point we’re kind of hitting the back end of our schedule but I don’t think we should panic yet,” ESTES Construction Project Manager Eric White said. “I think we should focus on (other) areas and let this heat up in the next week.”

It was anticipated the ground would be thawed and ready for concrete and flooring inside the school by March 20, but as that deadline has passed and there are some areas with 12 inches of frost still embedded in the floor slabs, the Clinton School Board thought it may be time to look at other options.

White updated them on the project Monday during a Committee of the Whole meeting, adding that while there are artificial methods to pulling the frost from the areas, he isn’t convinced that Mother Nature has given up just yet.

Board member Devin Guillory questioned the effectiveness of artificial removal, asking whether the district is willing to spend the extra money to keep the project on schedule. But White assured him the artificial process could become costly on a project of this magnitude.

“If you’re to pull the frost out of the ground it’s very costly to do that,” White said. “I don’t know if it’s (worth) the trade off for costs.”

Instead of using the artificial method to thaw areas that are still heavily frozen, White said his team is getting other portions completed while they have the delay, a process he has been continually pleased with.

That plan includes having the building fully enclosed, overhead piping in the majority of it, underground plumbing nearly completed and lighting fixtures ready to be installed next week.

White wasn’t the only one pleased with the progress of the school despite the delays. Board members are also feeling confident with the pace in which the project is moving forward considering the obstacles faced by contractors. It is a pace they hope isn’t delayed by spring rains.

“I feel we’re going in the right direction,” board member Jack Wenzel said. “It’s coming along.”