Construction at Edna Maguire Elementary School is moving forward steadily, but Mill Valley School District officials are nervous the new campus won’t be finished in time for the start of school in the fall.
“We really need those classrooms by Aug. 29,” Superintendent Paul Johnson said.
As it stands now, district consultant Pete Norgaard said competition dates range from Sept. 5 to Oct. 13 for different parts of the campus.
“The reality right now is we’ll be close to fully operational sometime in the October period, not the September period," Norgaard said.
At the end of March or early April, contractor Overaa Construction is expected to give district officials a better sense of how much of an impact the weather and other factors have had on the project, and will provide the district with a definitive move-in date, Norgaard said.
“Then we will put our heads together and figure out a moving plan,” Johnson said. “But we need that definitive date first.”
In the meantime, district officals are in wait-and-see mode.
The current concern has to do with steel production, which has been expedited through four different metal fabrication facilities in Nevada, Utah and Oregon in an effort to speed up the process. But it's still not enough.
“We can erect steel faster than we can fabricate it,” Norgaard said. “Once it’s all on site, there’s an opportunity to speed things up.”
The last of the deliveries are expected to arrive this week, and workers can then hopefully make up time. The school district has received approval from the city of Mill Valley to expand construction hours to include 11-hour weekdays from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., and 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Saturday. With the steel on site, contractors can start to take advantage of that extra time.
“We’re really appreciative of the city for those revised hours,” Johnson said.
But there’s no doubt the project is taking shape, as you can see in the attached video taken by Tim Ryan, the district's director of maintenance and operations.
The steel is complete on the first and second grade classrooms – buildings E and F – and workers are about to start the exterior framing. The multipurpose room, which is the structure with two tall buildings, is about one-third of the way erected.
“It will be exciting to see some wall framing start to go up,” Norgard said. “It will start to look like a building at that point, and then people will start saying ‘how come they’re not doing anything.'”
People won't see as much happening on the outside, but that’s when the majority of the interior work will take place. The playground structures and landscaping work will be completed in about eight to 10 weeks over summer vacation.
The original proposal called for three years of construction with a summer 2014 completion date, but the board cut that time in half after concerns from parents and residents that the timeframe would create an undue burden on students and the neighborhood. The $35 million reconstruction is being funded by Measure C, a bond measure approved by voters in November 2009.
Community groups also hope to raise about $650,000 to turn to the 11-acre undesignated area into a sports field, and plans to open the new bike path are moving forward as well, and it's expected to reopen in April.
In the meantime, the district is holding tight, and waiting to find out if the campus will be ready for the first day of school. And if it doesn't happen?
“We’ll work out a plan and we will get through it,” Johnson said. “But it’s super critical we move forward and try to meet that date.“
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