By Katie Dahlstrom
The Clinton School Board on Monday approved $86,000 in change orders for the new middle school project, which the project engineer told members is a few weeks behind schedule.
“The Clinton Middle School project is more important to our company than any other project we’ve ever had. I go to bed at night thinking about this project and I wake up in the morning thinking about this project,” Estes Construction project engineer Eric White told the board before going into the details of the change orders.
The soil beneath one portion of the middle school and the fire access road is soft, White explained. Because it will be unable to handle the structure load of the new school, the school board approved a $38,254 change order and another $35,539 change order to remove the soil under a portion of the school and the north fire access road, replacing it with limestone and compacting it.
Board member Mercia Wolf asked White if he foresees any other areas where the soil might yield more expenses. He said nature is pushing the area beneath the cafeteria and gymnasium on a path that wouldn’t require the district to spend more money for soil replacement, but couldn’t give a definitive answer as to whether the soils would present an issue.
“I can’t make any promises right now. I hope I don’t have to come back to you to talk about that area, but I don’t want that to be a surprise either,” White said.
The project will be past any potential soil problems in three to four weeks, he said.
Board members also approved a change order for $12,491 to add perimeter foundation insulation. The insulation had to be added as a change order because it was not included in the specifications that were issued as part of the original bid, meaning the concrete contractor did not know that company was responsible for the insulation.
The new middle school project started with a $400,000 contingency. That fund now stands at around $305,000.
White also updated the board on the project’s timeline, which has been slightly pushed back.
While steel has been erected in one section of the building, the framing part of the project that would enclose the first of four sections of the building is three weeks behind. Some parts of the building will be enclosed in December, others not until January, he said.
“When you talk about three weeks, is that bad? Three weeks? That’s horrible. But when you think about...in March we started grading, but we had equipment sitting out there for probably two weeks because there was frost on the ground. And we had 44 non-productive days from the time we got on the job site, we’re doing really well,” White said.
He said trades will be stacked to push the project forward to make the timeline tighter.
Crews are doing geothermal drilling, which will take roughly four months. Estes plans to place rock for parking lots. They also plan to put rock from 14th Street to 13th Avenue North so it can be driven on through the winter.
At the suggestion of the board, Estes also plans to re-open 16th Street Northwest.