Middle school nears finish

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Education > Move-in date slated for Labor Day weekend

By Tris DeRoma

If all goes well, it seems students and staff will just have one more month at Los Alamos Middle School’s temporary campus before moving into the new school.

According to school and construction officials familiar with the project, moving day could take place as early as Labor Day weekend.

Though Aug. 8 was mentioned as a possible opening date, the contractor, McCarthy Construction experienced unforeseen obstacles early in the project, and so was unable to make that date. Crews encountered more rock than usual under the foundation of the building, and that triggered other delays in various facets of the project, which forced them to fall back to Labor Day weekend. The absolute deadline is actually later in the fall, where, if they don’t make that deadline, then financial penalties will start to kick in for the contractor.

“The actual contract date is not until October,” said David Wharram, the construction liaison the school district hired to keep them updated on McCarthy’s progress. “That’s when penalties actually kick in.”

He added that they are currently working on getting the heating and ventilation systems squared away and some other items.

The school apparently received its first test last week when students and parents showed up for registration.

“They registered in the existing campus, and that seemed to go pretty well,” Wharram said. “They were able get their books and register without any problems.”

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Gene Schmidt said he is looking at a Labor Day weekend move-in date.

“We’re sensing optimism,” said Schmidt, who noted his most recent tour of the building gives him hope. “They are bringing to a close a lot of the projects that were going on.” He added that they are mostly still working on electrical and landscaping.

Middle school Principal Rex Kilburn said it’s been challenging, as they’ve had to work around the construction crews, but so far so good. They will be ready when school opens Aug. 14.

“Like last year, we’ve been keeping staff away until the last possible moment in order to provide complete access for McCarthy (Construction). We don’t want to be in their way,” Kilburn said. “Our goal is to make everything come together for the staff on Friday.”