Fairfield Ledger
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Neighbors Growing Together | Apr 23, 2014

School board approves design, timeline for FHS

By DIANE VANCE | Jan 28, 2014

Construction at Fairfield High School is scheduled to begin around mid-March, adding a structure outside the auto shop and wrestling room at the northeast corner of the building.

“We’re looking at five phases of construction beginning in March after the bids are let, through fall 2015,” said Jay Perry, vice president of construction at Carl A. Nelson & Company of Burlington.

Carl A. Nelson & Company was approved in July 2012 by the Fairfield school board as construction manager of the high school renovation/addition project.

Monday, the district held a public hearing about the plans, specifications and timeline for the project. No members of the public spoke.

“We’ve gone over the drawings, which are 95 percent complete, met with district maintenance staff, administrators, high school staff and I’ll walk you through the timeline tonight,” said Nick Hildebrandt, architect with StruXture Architects of Waterloo, hired by the school board in November 2012.

Hildebrandt gave a PowerPoint at Monday’s public hearing, with the five phases of construction highlighted in five colors on the building plans.

Perry said the phasing and timeline were coordinated with high school staff to create the least disruption of classes throughout the 19 months (March to September 2015) or so.

“We are looking to go out for bids Feb. 7,” he said.

“Phasing is important, because some parts need to be completed before another can start. We’ll be shifting some activities around. During the school year, we will be shifting some classes around,” said Perry. “The most disruptive work is planned for the two summer breaks.”

To ensure the phasing keeps on schedule, Perry said the 10 bid packages have very detailed instructions and explanations for contractors to follow, including the timeline and recommendations for timing in ordering materials.

“Phase one, adding to the outside of the northeast corner, can’t wait until the end of the school year, because we need to complete it by the beginning of next school year,” said Perry.

“This summer, phase two, we’ll be remodeling and adding between the auto shop area and the main building, and that has a timeline to be finished by September.”

Phase three also begins in June when classes are out, and will include the northwest corner of the building, which includes building an elevator shaft and a new science wing and a west entrance from outside.

Phase four will start near the end of summer, the beginning of the school year, and focus on locker rooms and a new weight room.

“Phases three and four are planned to both be completed before summer 2015,” said Perry.

“Phase five involves a lot of remodeling, some light, some heavy,” said Perry. “It includes the music and choir rooms, the upper floor, the front [south] entrance and an athletic lobby. The two big projects, remodeling the front entry, which moves the high school offices down a level and creates an entry level with the auditorium, and creating an athletic lobby, are scheduled to be completed by Sept. 1, 2015.”

Part of the renovation is adding air conditioning in each classroom. Installation of the mechanical structure for air handling will involve shifting classrooms around while contractors work in the rooms.

“During the school year, we anticipate turning over roughly two classrooms at a time, for about a week,” said Perry. “We’ve been working with Mr. Becker and Mr. Stone to coordinate schedules.”

Aaron Becker is FHS principal and Brian Stone is assistant principal.

“We’ve worked diligently to stay on budget,” said Perry. “More than half the work is mechanical, about $5.2 to $5.5 million.”

Perry outlined how the 10 bid packages are broken down.

“The largest bid is for a general contractor, and it includes such things as utilities, construction and more,” he said.

Other bids packages include: masonry; roofing; glass and glazing; acoustical ceilings; tile flooring; elevator shaft; HVAC and plumbing; test and balancing; and electrical.

“And one important point people have been concerned with, is yes, we are keeping the football tunnel,” said Perry. “Fairfield can continue its tradition.”

Superintendent Art Sathoff said a lot of people have worked hard to keep on budget and schedule.

“We appreciate all the work,” Sathoff said. “Many people had to be incorporated into the planning and design. Nick and Jay have done a good job of making it understandable for us. Everyone is determined to do as good a job as possible with the least disruption to school.”

The school board approved the architectural plans and specifications to be bid and the proposed timelines for the project as presented.

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