Wednesday, June 3, 2020

June Update 6/3/20

The COVID-19 pandemic has interrupted my regular updates. There is a lot of good  news to report.

Because we received such a positive bid on our project, we've been working to add back a number of the features of the building that were lost to cost-cutting prior to the bidding. In addition, we'll be able to accomplish some things that will improve the facility that we didn't think we could afford. Many of these improvements will be in the gym. The gym floor will be completely refinished from bare wood. New graphics and coatings will be applied and the floor will look like new. We will add aisles and handrails to the "Band side" bleachers to improve access for senior citizens. The seats lost to these aisles will be made up with new "short stack" bleachers on the mezzanine of the gym (5 rows/ 125 seats). We will add an acoustic curtain on the mezzanine to allow separation of the gym and mezzanine for classes and different activities to take place at the same time. New acoustic treatments in the gym will improve the ability to hear announcers and music.

In the Commons, we'll be able to add collapsible theater seating. This will give us the ability to have proper theatrical productions and meetings.

A classroom that was removed from the initial design will be added in and additional space for our LifeSkills classroom has been added.

We will have improved and more organized parking in the redesigned and expanded lots. The lot at the baseball field will be organized to allow for more parking spaces and the new walkway from the field to the school will keep pedestrians safer.

We will need to use the tennis court as a parking lot for staff and visitors during construction. This will effectively ruin the courts and make them unplayable. Initially, we thought we would have to either find grants to restore the courts or demolish them. Happily, there is budget capacity to restore and upgrade them to quality playing surfaces.

Finally, the landscaping that was removed from the initial project will be added. This will give nice plantings in the front of the building, an outdoor seating area near the Commons, a small outdoor classroom seating space and the whole south side of the building will be converted to an outdoor learning space- new greenhouse, meadow and forest learning areas for the study of prairie ecosystems and forestry, raised beds for gardening and fruit trees. This will also be a great venue for outdoor concerts.

Because of the closure of schools, our contractors have been able to work without having to be concerned about students and staff on campus. This means that our project is moving quicker. While we are still predicting that we'll complete the project in August, 2021, work on phase two has begun about two weeks ahead of schedule and phase one projects are moving quickly.

The forms for the foundation of the new exterior walls are in and concrete will likely be poured in the next two weeks. The locker room plumbing is installed and footings for the new supports for the ceiling have been poured. We expect the new locker room floor to be poured in the next two weeks and the new walls chalked-in shortly after that.

Initial demolition of the CTE space is complete and asbestos abatement is currently underway. When it is completed, I plan to take photos of the cleared space. This work is the beginning of phase two.

Most of the excavation work is complete and the storm water, main water, main electrical and gas utilities have been located or relocated. Our thanks to the folks at our local excavation contractor- Midway- for their work on the project.

There is a link to our construction camera on our website or you can go to Youtube and search "THS Construction". This will show you the construction site 24/7.