Jamie Taylor/river news
Greenfire superintendent Craig Bailey points to where the brick of the new addition meets the old portion of Crescent School. He said one of the driving concerns the School District of Rhinelander has is trying to match the new additions with the older buildings.
6/25/2019 7:30:00 AM School addition projects ahead of schedule All three projects now 'watertight'
Work on the additions to three of the four School District of Rhinelander elementary school buildings is progressing well, according to the firm managing the work.
In fact, the three projects are currently about three weeks ahead of schedule, according to Craig Bailey, superintendent of Greenfire, the Wausau firm hired by the district to oversee the work at Crescent, Pelican and Central schools.
Bailey made the announcement at a luncheon the firm held Wednesday to show appreciation to the 25-30 subcontractors that are working on the project.
Bailey estimated there are approximately 100 people working on the three school projects and many of them are local.
"We're ahead of schedule at all three buildings," Bailey said. "All three buildings are now watertight."
The deadline to have the work completed is Aug. 1 so that building staff can get the new additions ready for the start of the school year on Sept. 3.
The work involves adding two classrooms at all three schools, as well as the construction of a new office and drop-off loop at Crescent, at a cost not to exceed $2,958,420.
The School District of Rhinelander is paying for the work with cash on hand in the general fund balance.
Bailey said having the three projects so far ahead of schedule took a lot of hustle on the part of the subcontractors doing the work.
District superintendent Kelli Jacobi said reports that the projects are ahead of schedule was "very reassuring news."
"I did a walkthrough of each of the buildings on Wednesday and got an update for all of the buildings," Jacobi said. "And they look fabulous."
Bailey was asked if it was common to be this far ahead of schedule on three simultaneous projects?
"It's nice," he replied. "It helps to have good contractors. We have a good group of people who are doing the work. Everyone is doing the work when they need to do it, so that makes everybody's life a little bit easier."
Bailey said work on Central School got started a week behind schedule.
"We had some bad soils here (Central School), we had to over-excavate," he said, noting there was peat moss down to about 5 feet below the surface. "All-in-all it's been going pretty smooth."
Work at Crescent was also delayed because weight restrictions on the roads precluded them from bringing in the heavy equipment needed to do the work.
"We didn't break ground until the 9th of May. But that building is now watertight and they'll be hanging sheetrock on the bathroom walls tomorrow," Bailey said. "So they have done a lot of work over there in the last five weeks."
Now that the additions are watertight, the only parts of the project that could be affected by weather would be the masonry work and pavement for the loop at Central. Bailey said the entrance to the loop will be on Timber Drive and the exit will be onto Pelham Street.
"And the office is right here on the south end of the new addition," Bailey said.
The classrooms being added at each building are intended for 4K and kindergarten, so there will be a bathroom in each, as well as one in the office.
All electrical connections and water lines are tied into the old building, he added.
On Wednesday, most of the interior walls in the addition at Central were in the process of being painted and the drop ceilings hadn't been installed yet.
"This part of the building has two rooftop units for the heating and cooling," Bailey noted.
He said Greenfire had a hand in the design of each addition, and had pretty specific instructions from the district on the final products.
"The main thing the school district was looking for was they wanted it to match the latest addition to each building," Bailey said. "Mimic the latest additions at Crescent and Pelican as much as possible as far as the size of classrooms, the flooring and cabinets. But it appears that everybody is happy with those additions."
According to Bailey, the first building due to be completed is Pelican, with Central coming next and Crescent rounding out the work.
If the buildings are finished ahead of schedule, staff will have more time to put on the finishing touches, Jacobi noted.
"It keeps that timeframe a big time frame so we have plenty of time to get the furnishings done, all of the details, the lockers so they look beautiful when our parents and kids come to visit schools and do the open houses," she said. "It's very reassuring to me that they're going to be on time and we're not going to get into a crunch time where I need to be worrying; a plan B for students. Because the students will be ready no matter if the classrooms are or not."
Bailey noted that being ahead of schedule gives the workers a cushion in meeting their Aug. 1 deadline.
"As a contractor, you never know when Murphy's Law is going to bite you," he noted.
Jamie Taylor may be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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