H.C. Board of Education visits construction site

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By Cindy DiFazio

Staff writer/photographer

Henry County Board of Education Chairman Harold Bratton had more than a few questions for the architect and construction manager of the Henry County High School renovation project.

Bratton questioned Architect Kelly Crocker and construction site manager Darrell Hayden on a list of change orders up for board approval.

Bratton said he heard comments from some workers on the construction crew that an “inordinate number” of elevation specifications were incorrect. “Point blank,” he said, “I’ve heard that some of the engineering was screwed up.”

Crocker said that due to information not originally on the survey, conduit in the parking lot had to be rerouted and a manhole lowered to facilitate drainage. The cost was $3,592. “We are adjusting things to fit in the field,” Crocker said.

Site manager Darrell Hayden explained that the problems were due to incomplete building “as is” drawings. Hayden said that drawings of the existing building lack some important details due to the many additions and changes over the years. “There was some bad information given to Ross & Tarrant architects,” he said. “I think we’re not going to have these kinds of problems in the next phase.”

Crocker agreed, but cautioned there could still be obstacles ahead. “There has been a lot of discovery in terms of utilities and so forth,” he said.

Crocker offered to explain in detail every change regarding drainage problems. “We have had problems in the past, and I see problems in the future,” he said.

Bratton said that was not necessary, but felt that Crocker and Hayden should be aware of what had been said. The board unanimously approved the change order.

Painting classrooms at a cost of $13,485 where asbestos floor abatement necessitated new flooring also was approved. “The new floors made the walls look bad,” Crocker said.

Small changes included construction of a soffett in the band room, $760, and construction of a wall in the mechanical room in the band parking lot, $1,701.

Additionally, a bad sewer line had to be replaced at the bus garage. Hayden said that he believes it was an old sanitary line from a previous building. “It was old clay tile,” he said. Hayden said he felt it was a wise decision to put in the new sewer system and not have to worry about it for the next 30-40 years. Superintendent Tim Abrams agreed. “We discussed this a bunch,” he said. “My concern is that we’d pour asphalt and have to dig it up again. I’m tired of digging.” The sewer system cost was $32,391.

According to Crocker the school system will receive deductions in the amount of $41,090 to reflect savings on the job. With deductions credited, change orders in the amount of $10,525 were unanimously approved by the board.

Bratton asked Crocker and Hayden whether rumors that the school system would have spent less money by tearing down the old school and starting from scratch had any merit. Hayden said that it would have probably taken less time, but would have cost in the neighborhood of $40 million. He also noted there would not have been a new auditorium and the special finishes that this project will deliver at a cost of $14 million.

The tour showed a great deal of progress with many areas near completion. Classrooms and hallways are ready for flooring and a second coat of paint. New lockers will line only one side of the hallway allowing for more walking room. The computer room is wired and awaiting installation of equipment.

Although footers are in place, the new library and auditorium will not be finished until next year.

Hayden told the board that completion of the entire project is slated for August 2009. “Our main focus right now will be getting the cafeteria and administration offices up and running before the start of this school year,” he said.

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