Shop, band areas shift for fall

by Tom Coombe
As work continues on Ely’s school facilities project, contractors and architects have made it easier to track the progress.
An internet link, which can be found on the Ely School District’s Facebook page, includes photos and a progress report on numerous components of the project - all tied to construction bids approved in April.
School board members got a look at the photos Monday, during their monthly board study session, and got an update on changes that have occurred since they met earlier in the month.
Primary among them are adjustments being made to make sure displaced courses and functions have a home once the school year begins this fall, or shortly after.
In a change from what was planned earlier, band classes will not take place in the Washington Auditorium this year and will instead go into the choir room in the Memorial Building.
That prompted further shuffling, with industrial arts classes moving to the second floor of the Memorial, in the media center area.
“There currently is unfinished flooring and the ceiling is demoed and considering the floor is unfinished and it’s a good spot for industrial ed we don’t have to do a lot to get those spaces turned over when school starts,” said Brendan Ward, project engineer for contractor Kraus-Anderson Construction.
Ward said that Kraus-Anderson will work to supply temporary lighting and consult with the city’s building inspector to make sure it’s a safe area to hold industrial education courses.
The old boys locker room in the Memorial has been demolished to make way for the school’s boiler plant, and contractors are working to come up with a solution.
Work on a new locker room in the Memorial is hindered by long lead times for some materials including up to four months for lockers, but alternative options for a locker room or temporary changing room are being worked on.
“We’re going to aim for a Thanksgivingish timeframe to turnover the new boys locker room,” said Ward.
Demolition of the Industrial Arts Building began last month and the school’s boiler building is down as well to make way for a new structure that will link the Washington and Memorial buildings.
Forming and pouring the walls for the new addition, which will house a gymnasium, commons area, cafeteria, media center, classrooms, offices and more, is next in the timeline.
The district’s propane tank will be relocated, and site work is being done where the tank will go on the southwest side of the campus.
The project has a roughly $4.5 million budget hole - created by a second bid package that came in 100 percent over estimate. About $12 million in construction bids were approved in April and work authorized then is proceeding.
The second bid package will be rebid in the fall, and work included in that package - primarily renovations to existing facilities - may have a new scope.
The new building won’t be ready until the fall of 2022, and the rejection of bids in the second package will also hold up some improvements to the Washington and Memorial that were initially pegged for this summer.
Primary funding sources for the project include a $10 million bond referendum passed by district voters last year, and a $7 million grant from the IRRB.