School board gets guarantee of $22.6M

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Construction continues, but steel won’t be visible for at least three more months

By Jennifer Garcia

For the past several months, Diamond Drive has become a tangle of construction, with long lines of traffic at peak hours and student pedestrians from Los Alamos High School attempting to navigate the obstructions.

Add to that the construction going on at LAHS, and it seems like a recipe for disaster.

Not only do the students have to be mindful of avoiding construction sites off campus, they have to avoid them on campus. Despite the would-be problems, construction teams from both projects seem to be making progress.

During Thursday night’s School Board meeting at Piñon Elementary, Sanjay Engineer of the architectural firm FBP, gave an update on the construction at the high school. He said a lot of work has been completed over the past eight months and that all entities involved in the project have worked together to ensure that the project stays on budget. Members were presented with a guaranteed maximum price of $22.6 million.

Justin Stoverink, the project  manager for Flintco, said his company has been working on the cafeteria renovations, delivering the portable classrooms, putting infrastructure in the portables and demolishing old buildings on campus.

“During the past three months we have removed buildings and tunnel systems,” Stoverink said. “Recently we’ve begun structural fabrication drawings. We’ll start earthwork next week. The foundation system and drill piers will start in mid-September. The foundation will take two-and-a-half months. It will be around Dec. 1 before you see any steel coming out of the ground.”

Winter’s start in November will not deter construction, according to Stoverink.

He said the contractor will do its best to work through it and that he was more concerned with what weather in December and January will bring.

Following comments from School Board members, Board Member Joan Ahlers moved to approve the GMP as presented.

Board Member Kevin Honnell, however, had some concerns regarding the process by which changes to the value analysis summary sheet had been made.

Honnell’s concerns focused mainly on the fact that he had not seen any updated drawings of how the buildings would look based on those changes.

“I wouldn’t buy a house if I didn’t know what it looked like,” Honnell said.

He also said the building is owned by the community and he was not comfortable with making a purchase for the community, when he had not seen drawings.

Ahlers’ motion passed 4-1, with Honnell voting against it.