DeKalb West School Addition to Open with Start of School

July 11, 2014
Dwayne Page
DeKalb West Addition to Open with Start of School

Except for the kitchen, the DeKalb West School addition is expected to be completed by the time school starts later this month.

David Brown of Kaatz, Binkley, Jones & Morris Architects and Levi Bouton of J. Cumby Construction updated the Director of Schools and Board of Education on the project Thursday night.

According to Bouton, the kitchen should be finished by August 22nd. Until then, students will be served sack lunches just as they were on the last few days of school before summer break.

"This is the definition of the home stretch. The next couple of weeks are going to be exciting, "said Brown. "We are scheduled to do our punch list of the classroom addition and the cafeteria on the same date as the State Fire Marshal is going to be there to do an inspection. After that, we will have arrived at the stage called substantial completion. That means that you can use the building for the purpose that it was designed for. You can move in. You can start using it as classrooms. In new construction, that's the date when utilities are turned over to your name from the contractor's name. That's the date the one year warranty starts and your clock starts on most of your warranty work. We will do the punch list. Each item on the list will be addressed and then we'll start getting the closeout documents. All of the focus will then shift over to getting the kitchen wrapped up," said Brown.

"We are just a couple of weeks away from the substantial completion," said Bouton. "Immediate hurdles that we have are that the kitchen is not going to be complete at substantial completion. But the new addition and the cafeteria will be able to be turned over at that point. The exterior of the building which includes all the grade work, the site work, and the additional underground drainage that was added to the project, we're anticipating that being done by the second week in August," he said.

Bouton assured Director of Schools Mark Willoughby that the addition would be ready to open with the start of school July 31, except for the kitchen.

"Do you feel really confident that we will be in that building at the beginning of school?," asked Willoughby.

"Yes sir," responded Bouton.

"The cooler and the freezer have been installed but the remainder of all the (kitchen) equipment is in storage. We've just got to say go. I don't want it there just yet. It (kitchen) is not presentable for that yet," said Bouton.

School Nutrition Supervisor Stephanie Dyer said she is glad that the cafeteria will be ready by the start of school and that sack lunches could be served until the kitchen is completed. "As far as feeding the children, we will continue what we were doing prior to school being out with our sack lunches. The kids really did enjoy that. We were able to give them a different variety of sandwiches and that worked fine so for two or three weeks, it should not be a problem. My main concern was making sure the cafeteria was completed so they (students) have a place to eat and for us to serve." said Dyer.

Most of the new construction is at the front of the existing building. The project includes eight new classrooms, seven of which are tornado safe shelters, along storm shelter restrooms. The addition also features a new secure entrance to the school, an office, clinic, conference room, and a teacher work area. A new larger kitchen has been constructed as an extension to the existing building and the cafeteria is enlarged. A re-roofing of the existing school was part of the overall project and most of that has been finished. The school also has a new intercom and fire alarm system. The section featuring the tornado safe rooms was largely funded through a FEMA grant program. The required grant match as well as DWS projects not covered by FEMA were funded locally.

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