Construction projects lag at city school district

With less than three weeks until the first day of school, construction projects at two Williamsport Area School District buildings are coming “down to the wire,” it was reported at Tuesday’s school board meeting.

Jeff Angstadt, vice president of operations for Foreman Program and Construction Managers, said while work continues at both the middle and high school, there still are aspects that need to be completed.

The substantial completion date of July 29 was not met on the middle school project. But Angstadt assured the board that both buildings will be ready for students on the first day of school.

About 75 percent of the work is done on the middle school, Angstadt said. Classrooms are ready, furniture will begin being placed in the new media center and mechanical systems have been tested. Work still is being performed in the “cafetorium,” which is a combination cafeteria-auditorium.

Angstadt said temporary occupancy for teachers and administrators to begin setting up their spaces should come by Friday. Permanent occupancy should be approved by Aug. 19.

After recently observing the work site, David Stone Jr., board member, said he was concerned about the project.

“I am concerned that the contractors put sufficient resources on (the project) so there aren’t any loose ends,” he said.

Angstadt explained that he and site managers have reminded contractors of deadlines and encouraged them to add hours and manpower to the project.

“We’ve been trying to push these guys,” Angstadt said.

The high school project is hitting snags with the cafeteria, Angstadt said. Although they are a few days behind schedule, Angstadt said that already having the furniture purchased and ready to be installed will allow them to make up time once the floor is installed.

Dr. Don Adams, superintendent, reported that there was a discussion recently on the schedule of the projects. After that discussion, Adams said it was decided that the district would keep the school year’s start date on Aug. 26.

“We’re trusting that the work will go as planned,” Adams said.

In other business, the board voted 7-0 to approve a three-year contract for Adams as superintendent with a starting salary of $140,000. The board named Adams as the district’s superintendent in June, and he took over the position in July.

The board also unanimously voted to open the Williamsport Area Middle School for the 2013-14 school year. The school needed to be officially opened because the board voted to close Roosevelt Middle School, explained David Wright, director of student services.