Material Delays Likely Pushing Back When Students Return to Class at Washington

By Jeremy Coumbes on September 23, 2022 at 11:41am

Students and staff anxiously awaiting to return to a newly renovated Washington Elementary School will likely have to wait a little longer.

The Jacksonville District 117 School Board was given an update on the current progress of the Washington renovations during the regular September meeting last night.

Superintendent Steve Ptacek says the delay in availability for the main electrical panel which has pushed its delivery date out till May, has combined with other factors to push back when classes can resume in the building.

it doesn’t look like we are going to be able to make the end of the calendar year deadline that we were hoping for. Right now with delays we’re still strongly focusing on being able to get done at the end of the school year so that we can have as much time as possible in the summer to get the school ready for the students to come in next fall.

With the delay in the major electrical panels, there could be portions in the new section of the building, the gym floor, and some other sections that might not be done until late in the summer. But that’s not going to impact the main part of the school which would allow students to start next year.”

The possible workaround for the delayed electrical panel by using smaller separate panels would cost the district an estimated $65,000.00 that includes one month’s rent and then an additional $6,500.00 per month rental fee after that, meaning that the total cost could be upwards of $100,000.00.

Compounding the issue is the report that the manufacturer of the flooring set to be installed may not honor the warranty if the design-approved electrical and HVAC systems are not in place and operating when the flooring is installed.

Another issue is that the flooring for the new gymnasium must be delivered days and even weeks in advance of installation to allow for the material to acclimate itself to avoid the risk of warps or bows in the material. And if the climate conditions are not stable, the flooring could be ruined before it is even installed.

Ptacek says due to the continued delays in certain equipment on the Washington project, have led officials to turn some attention to the Eisenhower Elementary School project in an effort to get ahead of delays where they can.

The architect and the engineer on the Washington project are meeting and they are trying to isolate major equipment such as electrical panels or other devices that they know are in delay at this point in time, and are going to try to order those early, even before the bids go out. That’s just if you want to get a school done on time, or a project done on time you’ve got to start thinking outside the box on how to get things to the school as early as possible. And we need to get into that cue, that line for those devices as quickly as possible.”

On the positive side, project manager Bob Roads reported that all of the walls are up on the new Washington School gymnasium and crews are beginning to finish constructing the walls of the new addition that will contain the foyer and offices. He also reported that site work for the new driveway and sidewalks is estimated to begin on October 3rd.