Guthrie Public Schools will now begin classes next school year on September 4. The Board of Education approved moving the date back nearly two weeks later after learning the new elementary school building will not be constructed in time.
Last October, Charles Wash with W.L. McNatt (contractor) told school board members between a wet summer and a surveyor issue they had lost over 50 days of construction time on the new Charter Oak Elementary School, but was optimistic the building would be ready by Aug. 17. Related article: New elementary school behind construction schedule
However, the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) says the project was not in regulation when it came to the lagoon system. In addition, DEQ added the conditions of adding a road to be built to the lagoon and fencing and structures will need to be moved.
What the cost of the change order is uncertain. Who is paying for the changes is also unknown.
Now the construction process is 70 days behind schedule.
“Before we ever moved a piece of equipment on site, we turned in plans and requests to DEQ and told them we need all the permits necessary for all of the construction on site,” Wash said. “They did not cut us a lagoon permit.”
Despite not having the permit for the lagoon, construction was started.
Board member Janna Pierson asked the architect representative from Stacy’s Group if the required road was in the original specs.
“I have the regs (regulations) here that is why I am questioning this,” Pierson said. “It specifically says in these regs; provided all-weather access road to the lagoon site. So it was in the regulations so I don’t understand why we’re (school district) having to come back and do a change order and pay for this when you architects obviously did not read the regulations.”
Wash says the additional work is fixable by the start of the school year.
The architect says DEQ wanted the lagoon in a different spot which caused the base of the lagoon to be at a different elevation. Wash said over a foot needs to be corrected on one side and 15 inches on the other.
“The most important thing is we still don’t know what we are talking about financially to meet the DEQ spec that they provided that they have given us a (lagoon) permit on,” Superintendent Dr. Mike Simpson said.
“I think it’s incumbent upon Charles, you, that we have that information so that we can begin the discussion on how it will be paid for. This has been an ongoing issue.”
Wash says the classrooms, office and corridor areas will be ready by August, but said the kitchen space should be completed in September.
School Calendar altered
In February, the school board approved the school calendar with a start date of Aug. 17, but a second calendar was put on hold in case of any construction delays.
“That will give the additional time so that our contractor can finish the school and we can get moved in,” Simpson said.
Simpson said the new calendar will reduce the number of days taught in order to finish before Memorial Day. To help allot the needed time, 10 minutes will be added to the school day.
Simpson added the new calendar will not drastically change Thanksgiving, Christmas and Spring breaks.
The superintendent reminded board members the school calendar can be altered at any time throughout the year.