A construction contractor in charge of renovating the Los Alamos Middle School is currently wrapping up dealing with an 11-foot layer of “tuff” (pronounced “toof”) that was not apparent in preliminary drilling surveys.
In clearing ground for a building at the site, the contractor McCarthy Construction, came across a layer of pumice-like material, wrecking a few drill bits as well as racking up a tab of roughly $300,000 to take it out.
“We have the best intentions when we start into a project; then there are unknowns,” said Bob Gorrell, director of New Mexico’s Public School Finance Authority. “This is one that is really tough, because it’s expensive.”
Gorrell gave the news to the Los Alamos Board of Education during a recent progress report on the matter. The PSFA partners with school districts in funding and managing school construction projects.
“There may have been less expensive ways to excavate it in my opinion, like blasting, because that is what you do with a material like that when you’re trying to cut costs,” Gorrell said. “But that probably would not have worked in that neighborhood,” he said.
Fortunately, the PSFA is going to assume most of those costs, according to Gorrell.