Work at George A. Smith Middle School is on schedule, said Dr. Timothy J. Shrom, the district's business manager. The project is adding new classrooms and an auditorium to the 35-year-old building. It's also changing how the building is lighted and relocating the main entrance.
"The auditorium is scheduled to be completely finished in September or October [of 2018]," Dr. Shrom said.
Over the winter, the contractor will also be cutting holes in the existing building's roof for new heating and air conditioning equipment.
"If we wait until next summer [to do the preparation], we couldn't get that work done before school opens," he said. "We'll be doing that when there are no students in school, either late in the day or on some Saturdays."
The district is also having all the lighting in the building replaced with LEDs.
"We're doing a lot of things like that now so we can get ahead of the curve. We're trying to get ahead so we can do the office area in the summer," he said. "We can't do that while school is in session."
The original schedule called for the office area to be moved to the front of the building during the summer, 2017, vacation. Long lead time for materials orders made that impossible. Now what would have been the first phase of the project will become one of the last.
The project has mainly held to the original plans, but there have been a few changes as the work progressed.
"We hit the tanks from the old septic system and we had to do extra work on the footings for the classroom wing," Dr. Shrom said. "That's normal stuff in a construction project, things you can't expect."
So far, the changes have added about $60,000 to the $12.2 million project.
As work is underway at Smith, the district is getting ready to start another renovation and expansion project.
"We're getting ready to bid Phase II for the Clermont/Swift project," Dr. Shrom said. "That way, we'll be ready to go the day school lets out for the summer."
Although the work won't begin until later this year, preparations for additions and renovations to Swift Middle School and the attached Clermont Elementary School began two years ago. That's when Solanco began working on the existing infrastructure for the connected schools. That work included a new heating and air conditioning plant for Swift.
Then, in the summer of 2017, the district rearranged the traffic pattern around the schools. That will allow the bus loading and unloading areas to be moved to the back of the buildings rather than in the front. The project will include new offices for both schools, a new gymnasium for Clermont, and an auditorium for Swift. That project will create more new space than the work at Smith.
"There won't be a ton of renovations in the building," the business manager said.
The renovations and construction at Swift and Clermont will probably be complete in late 2019 or early 2020 and will be more expensive than the project at Smith Middle School.