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Full steam ahead

Construction progress on schedule at Berg Middle School

Published: Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2017 9:52 a.m. CST • Updated: Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2017 10:47 a.m. CST
Caption
(David Dolmage/Daily News)
Newton Community School District board member Josh Cantu listens during a briefing on progress at the Berg Middle School complex during a tour of the site organized for board members Monday night.

Progress is well underway at the new Berg Middle School and Monday members of the Newton Community School District board were on hand to tour the site. The project, built with a $26.9 million general obligation bond, which was approved last fall, will replace the previous building, which NCSD administrators determined was too costly to remodel.

During Monday night’s regular board meeting, board members had a chance to look at the interior finishes for the new school. The school is divided into four distinct learning communities, each with its own unique color scheme. The district has yet to determine final furniture, fixtures and equipment for the site, but NCSD superintendent Bob Callaghan said he’d like to see each classroom outfitted with interactive projectors at the new building. Currently, the district has 40 of these projectors, with 10 located in each of the four elementary schools, but Callaghan would like to see their use extend beyond that.

“That’s my plan right now,” Callaghan said.

Sherm Welker, a senior project manager for the Hansen Company, who is handling the construction duties at the middle school, led Monday night’s tour. Welker said while crews have worked through some rain issues, they are on track so far and consistently hitting milestones.

“We’ve had a couple of rain events, but it looks worse than it is,” Welker said.

Working around the weather is the biggest concern crews at the middle school face, Welker said. A long run of dry weather, coupled with no snow will help crews meet their deadlines and stay on target. Despite a rainy fall, Callaghan said he’s optimistic about the construction schedule.

“We’re still beating all of our milestones, but the winter is a factor,” Callaghan said.

In order to stay on schedule, the construction crew recently added a second drilling rig to speed up progress at the site. Crews are installing 320 rods 205 feet deep to run the building’s state-of-the-art geothermal heating and cooling system. Right now 80 of the rods have been placed, but administrators are confident that the addition of a second drilling rig will speed up the process.

“With so much rain they’re a little bit behind,” Callaghan said.

Concrete work on the upper level is nearly complete, and crews plan to begin pouring the floors on the lower level this week, weather permitting, Welker said. Exterior framing will start this week on the building as well, with a focus on getting the building sealed up before winter weather hits. Once framing starts, Welker estimated it will take three weeks to get the building enclosed to allow crews to start working on the interior. NCSD board president Travis Padget said he was excited to see the building taking shape during the tour.

“Just to see all of the work of the bond committee coming together, the size is impressive,” Padget said.

Former board members Shari Benson and Andy Ebert were also part of Monday’s tour. Even though she’s no longer on the board, Benson said she was glad to have the opportunity to see the building come together, after spending so much time working on the bond process.

“It’s heartwarming to see the dream come to life, and I’m delighted to know that others will carry it along,” Benson said.

Contact David Dolmage at 641-792-3121 ext. 6532 or ddolmage@newtondailynews.com

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