10/08/12 — School construction projects are likely ahead of schedule

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School construction projects are likely ahead of schedule

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on October 8, 2012 1:46 PM

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Construction on the two-story classroom building at Norwayne Middle School is nearing completion. Projects are being done simultaneously at Norwayne and Eastern Wayne middle schools, with interior work being done currently. The construction projects, which include demolition of existing buildings, are expected to be finished by February, but school officials speculated this past week they might be able to begin transitioning into the buildings over the upcoming Christmas break.

Construction and demolition projects at Eastern Wayne and Norwayne middle schools are right on schedule, as officials anticipate moving students and teachers in within a few months -- possibly as soon as Christmas break.

"We're supposed to be finished about the end of February roughly and right now, a little update, we're kind of hanging and installing finishes such as painting ceilings, casework (like cabinets), installing toilet partitions, toilet fixtures, electrical fixtures and mechanical fixtures," said Michael McLamb construction manager for R.N. Rouse, the contractor handling the project.

The projects, being done simultaneously on both campuses, began in September 2011 and were projected to cost $16 million. Funding was derived from QSCB, Qualified School Construction Bonds Program, or stimulus dollars acquired through the county commission. An estimated $15 million will be accessed from three funding sources, officials said -- sales tax refund money, capital funds and $971,792 in county funds.

McLamb offered a progress report this past week, starting with what workers are currently doing at Eastern Wayne.

The most obvious to passersby, he said, is "Building 100," a two-story, 20-classroom building, also contains what they call "gang bathrooms," a cluster of stalls, on both the first and second floors.

"It looks like there are six stalls in each gang bathroom, with three sinks," he said. "And of course, there are two science classrooms on the first floor and two classrooms on the second floor."

The plans also call for a new administrative area, comprised of the principal's office, reception area, conference room, health room and records area.

The project features a renovation of Building 200, which connects to Building 100, he said.

"We have upgraded seven rooms in this and one gang bathroom," he said. "Toward the end of the project, there will be a building to be removed, I think that building number is 300. It's replaced with the 100 building."

Once the move takes place and the older building is torn down, the space will be developed into a new student drop-off area and eventually parking spaces.

"There will be a new entrance to the building where most of the traffic can get off of the road," McLamb said. "There will be less traffic on Central Heights Road, and the campus will be able to hold it."

Demolition is expected to take place in January, he said, which will make it one of the last phases.

"It's really gone pretty well," he said. "We've actually had good weather. It's a wonderful site to work on. It's sandy soil, so it's a kind of well-drained soil."

The external area is pretty much complete other than the parking area, he said. As far as the interior work, workers are at the point of installing switches, hanging lights and doing painting. Within the next month or so, he added, flooring will be installed.

Norwayne, while similar in scope, differs in that it is a larger campus on which to work.

"There's a lot larger site at Norwayne," McLamb said. "They're not right on the street like Eastern Wayne Middle is. Both projects have really been great places to work as far as space."

The construction design at the two locations is basically the same, he said, and is expected to be finished around the same time.

"I have been told they have between 500 and 700 students here at Eastern Wayne, while at Norwayne there's about 1,000," McLamb said. "As far as the layout, there's 12 classrooms in the single story and there's two science classrooms in it, and there's 24 classrooms in the two-story building also being built -- 12 classrooms on each floor -- and there's also two science classrooms on each floor as well, so you have actually got six science classrooms total."

As with Eastern Wayne, once students are moved into the new buildings, the two existing structures will be demolished. This will be a significant improvement at Norwayne, where some of the construction dates back to pre-1960, McLamb said.

Plans for the vacated space are unknown at this time, he said, noting that there is discussion about creating sidewalks to connect the gym/cafeteria area to the new buildings.

One area of concern at both properties has been drainage, especially after a heavy rain.

McLamb said concessions have been made at each site.

"(Norwayne) is still on a hillside so the water's going to run off the hill," he said. "Eastern Wayne is pretty much flat. It's been pretty good at both sites. There have been storm drains installed on both projects and that helps take the water away from the site.

"At Eastern Wayne, they put in what they call an infiltration system. What it does is collect the sediment off the site, there's a filter. The water comes into the infiltration system and the clean water seeps out through the soil."

If things continue moving as they have, teachers and students can look forward to a quick transition into brand new classrooms.

"We'll finish, they'll move in and then we'll demo (demolish the older buildings)," McLamb said. "It wouldn't take maybe a week. Once you get your permits cleared to demo, you just tear it down and haul it off."

Nan Barwick, assistant superintendent for fiscal services with the district, hinted that it may be even sooner than projected.

"There is a strong possibility that we can make the move into the new buildings either over Christmas break or the break in mid-January," she said this week. "We are already working to make the move as seamless as possible and with as little disruption for the students and teachers."