• warning: Parameter 2 to ed_classified_link_alter() expected to be a reference, value given in /home/soloneconomist/www/www/includes/common.inc on line 2968.
  • warning: Parameter 2 to ed_classified_link_alter() expected to be a reference, value given in /home/soloneconomist/www/www/includes/common.inc on line 2968.

CCA details timelines for next three projects

OXFORD– The end is in sight for completion of a two-story addition to the Clear Creek Amana (CCA) middle school in Tiffin.
District Construction Manager Ray Willoughby and Shive-Hattery’s Keith Johnk both told the school board they were optimistic the chronically-delayed project would finally be completed during winter break.
Willoughby gave the board a construction update during their regular monthly meeting Monday, Nov. 16, at Clear Creek Elementary.
Flooring is done in most of the classrooms, and terrazzo flooring in the south corridor and main entrance should be done in the next couple weeks, Willoughby said, followed by work in the cafeteria/commons area. “We’re moving along, it’s a matter of when we get done…still shooting for Christmas,” said Willoughby.
Board president Steve Swenka asked if that seemed realistic.
“Some days,” Willoughby answered. “Very frankly, probably yes.” He said exterior concrete work was mostly done and the contractors were moving their trailers to accommodate final dirt work ahead of seeding next spring.
Johnk was also optimistic they would have an occupancy permit by the Christmas break, which would allow middle school principal Brad Fox to move his staff and students into the new space.
Fox told the board office furniture and equipment suppliers Iowa Prison Industries and Quill were both scheduled to deliver and install their products between Christmas and New Year’s Day. He also reiterated his plan to utilize National Honor Society high school students who need volunteer service hours to help the teachers relocate their classrooms. Seventh and eighth grade classes will move into the new addition, while the sixth graders will relocate to classrooms along the north side of the gym, known as the ’96 addition.
With the 1968 original structure vacant, the district will begin a renovation project to convert a block of eight smaller classrooms into six larger rooms, in addition to updating the Heating, Ventilation and Air-Conditioning (HVAC) to a geothermal system. Also included in the project will be asbestos abatement.
In an email last week, Johnk explained asbestos concerns were first raised statewide in the late 1980s with school districts directed to investigate their buildings and file a report detailing what they found. Asbestos was commonly used in the 1950s and 1960s in pipe insulation, ceiling tiles, certain spray-on acoustical ceiling texture, some vinyl flooring materials and the adhesive used to glue it down. Left alone, asbestos is relatively harmless because the micro-fine fibers are encapsulated within the material and cannot become airborne and inhaled. However, if the material is disturbed, broken or worn down, the fibers can pose problems including a form of lung cancer known as mesothelioma.
“Back in 2010 when we replaced the domestic water piping in the middle school, the asbestos pipe insulation was removed by an asbestos contractor, so the asbestos that remains is primarily in the old floor tile and mastic,” Johnk said.
Lower than expected bids on the new Tiffin Elementary School and the middle school addition have provided an opportunity to remove that remaining material.
Under the original bond referendum, only the HVAC project was included; however, the board has since approved the room conversions.
“The remodeling would disturb the floor tile in the area of work, so the district hired our environmental group to test the materials and to prepare bid documents for abating the asbestos in those areas,” Johnk said. Asbestos abatement is typically a separate bid and contract from other contracted work, he explained, as most general contractors do not have the proper insurance covering abatement.
It’s also a very extensive process involving an elaborate containment area typically constructed of sealed plastic with double-zippered vestibule entrances.
“They exhaust the containment area through High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters, which keep the area at a negative air pressure relative to the areas outside the containment,” said Johnk. Once abated, the exhaust process continues with air quality tests performed until the area is deemed clear.
“Setting up and taking down containment areas and the air quality testing are the most expensive parts of the abatement process,” Johnk said, “so the ability to set up one large containment area, and get all of the abatement done at one time will save the district thousands of dollars in the long run, rather than abating small areas over time in the future.”
The abatement is estimated to cost $182,000, including new flooring materials; $100,000 of that will come from the bond referendum and $82,000 will come from the district’s general fund.
“All of the referendum project budgets were created with construction contingencies to fund change orders during construction,” said Johnk. “Now that Tiffin Elementary is complete, and the middle school additions are getting close, we have leftover funds available from those two contingencies.” Johnk also told the board unused bond money has been sitting in the bank drawing $35,000-$45,000 in interest ahead of the renovation project and the upcoming high school expansion.
“I would recommend we go ahead and pursue the abatement project,” said Superintendent Tim Kuehl. “It just makes sense to get that abatement done, it fits in our budget, we don’t have to worry about it (in the future), it’s going to be empty, we’re going to be tearing stuff up anyway…let’s knock it out.”
The board approved a timeline for the abatement with bids going out on Dec. 10, to be returned by Jan. 13. The board will award the contract at its monthly meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 20, with work to begin on Feb. 1. The project is to be substantially complete by March 11.
The board also approved a timeline for the renovation work with bids out on Jan. 7 to be returned by Feb. 4. The board will award that contract on Feb. 17, with work to begin on Feb. 29 and an Oct. 14 date for substantial completion.
Bids will go out for the high school additions; including a two-story block of new classrooms and labs, an expansion to the gym with a new practice gym as well as, renovation of the weight room and the addition of a fitness room along with a walking/running track and storage space; on Feb. 9. The high school project is scheduled to be substantially complete on July 14 ahead of occupancy for the 2017-2018 school year.