Harry Hurst wing playing catch-up after major setback

Michelle Stuckey
September 16, 2011 at 9:29 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

While three major renovation projects for St. Charles schools are nearing completion this month, the wing addition at Harry Hurst Middle is still playing catch-up after a major setback this summer.

A canopy replacement at Norco Elementary 4-6 and roof replacement at Destrehan High went to the board table on Wednesday for substantial completion. A new wing at J.B. Martin Middle School is on schedule at about 55 percent complete and 20 percent under budget. But construction on a similar wing at Hurst has been delayed about 120 days due to a delay in steel production from a sub-contractor.

School officials said they are hopeful that everything will go as scheduled from now on, but they are worried about getting the building ready for Hurst to take in a new grade next fall as planned. If everything goes according to plan, Hurst will still be absorbing 6th grade students from Ethel Schoeffner Elementary and Norco 4-6 beginning next fall.

“It's a major transition…I'm concerned and nervous,” said Superintendent Rodney Lafon during a Capital Improvements Committee meeting on Monday.

John Rome, director of physical plant services for the school district, said that he believes the building will be ready for the 2012-2013 school year as long as the building is complete by late March.

“It will be feasible if we make that schedule, but it's a tight schedule,” Rome said. But he is worried that unavoidable events, such as hurricanes and engineering modifications, could push the completion date back even more.

During the meeting, representatives from Murray Architects and Aegis Construction were present to discuss the project.
Ken Liliedahl, president of Aegis, said that he expects the wing to be completed by March 30 of next year. The original completion date was scheduled for mid-January.

“No project…has more of my personal attention than this one does,” Liliedahl said. “We feel very confident that we will be complete by the end of March if not sooner.

“Of course, we regret that we got into this situation. We were let down in a major way by our steel contractor.”

According to Aegis, the contractor failed to provide the necessary steel to complete the project on time, causing the major delay in the completion date. As of Monday, 99 percent of all steel was on site.

Representatives from Murray Architects said that the construction site is now being reviewed more frequently to make sure work stays on schedule and that everyone involved in the project is meeting on a regular basis. In addition, the architects agreed to update the board on the construction process each month during the Capital Improvements Committee meeting.

The 24-classroom wing was going to cost the district about $4.9 million, but costs may go up due to the delay. Construction began in April of this year.

View other articles written Michelle Stuckey

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