The home stretch

The completion date for the new Fort Dodge middle school has been pushed back to July, but that’s not a bad thing.

“Per the original contract documents, July 1 was the original completion of the middle school from the start,” Shane Albrecht, Fort Dodge Community School District construction manager, said this week.

This is not the first time the anticipated completion date has been pushed back.

“CSI has always come forward and had a little more aggressive schedule to say we’ll first be done in February and this later on got pushed back to May, and now it’s back to July, which is the original completion date of the project to start with,” Albrecht said.

According to Albrecht, this does not affect the district’s plans to have the school open for the 2013-14 school year.

“It was nice that CSI had the aggressive schedule to try to get done in early spring, but the district doesn’t really need the building before this summer,” he said. “This is still within the time frame of us needing the building and us wanting it.”

The reasons for delays in the construction progress were not unexpected.

“Some of their delivery dates, some of their approvals and some of their drawings haven’t necessarily happened in a sequence that’s allowed it to come, just some of the overall dates and checking out the thing and trying to make sure we’re getting a quality building for the district that can last for a number of years,” Albrecht said.

The project remains on budget.

“We’ve done a good job of keeping the change order costs down,” Albrecht said.

An athletic track for the school is about to be installed, and bids for irrigation come in to the district on May 7. The building itself, Albrecht said, is moving along “really well.”

“First floor A and B we’ve reached a milestone. They have done the stained and polished floors there, which is the hallways,” he said. “They’re going to move back and on the 29th they’re going to start with carpet and (vinyl composition tile) in the classrooms, so we’ll start to see all the classroom spaces have finished coats of paint on them.”

Areas A and B are the classrooms wing of the school, the building’s east side. Area C is the middle.

“This week they’re grinding the floors in our cafeteria and our commons area to try and get that done,” Albrecht said. “They’ll probably complete that some time next week. That will get the center section done.”

The big push this week, Albrecht said, is the gymnasium floor. Another milestone, in the meantime, is the school’s auditorium with the scaffolding coming down so the rest can be finished.

“We’ve said out loud, if there happens to be an area that does fall behind because of their schedule, the district doesn’t truly need the auditorium to be finished to open up to have school in the building,” he said. “If we’re going to be behind in an area, let’s be behind in the auditorium, because of it having its own entrance and a lobby we can block off. We can isolate and let the kids be in the rest of the building and have them finish the auditorium after the fact.”

Albrecht is confident the building will open for the start of the school year in August.

Doug Van Zyl, FDCSD superintendent, said he feels the project is going “very well.”

“There’s a lot of great things going on out there, and every day things change,” he said. “I think the progress people are making is going very well and it’s continuing to move forward.”

Van Zyl said he is looking forward to the school opening this year.

“Our goal has always been to have it ready to go, so that we can start moving our things in at the end of June or beginning of July,” he said. “I don’t see that that schedule has really changed.”