EMC school slated to open on time
When the $13.3 million two-phase project making additions and renovations to E. Merton Crouthamel Elementary School is done, all the modulars will be gone, but that won’t happen quite as soon as expected.
As work was being done last fall, a fuel tank the district hadn’t known about was found under part of the building, Bill Stone, Souderton Area School District director of business affairs, said.
“We discovered it when we were digging the foundation, had to bring in an environmental consultant, remediate it,” he said, “and just the time it took to do those steps put us behind schedule.”
The cold, snowy winter that followed put the work even further behind, he said.
At the April 11 Souderton Area School Board operations committee meeting, a review was done of proposed change-orders scheduled to be voted on by the full board at its April 26 meeting.
The change-orders do not change the work or the cost, but add to the length of time the contractors have to complete the job, Stone said.
“Because of some contingency schedule that we had
built in originally, the new addition will be ready for the start of school,” he said.
While the school can open on time, not all the work will be done, he said.
“The new library area, which is in the current cafeteria and gym, will not be ready, but it was not supposed to be ready at the start of school,” Stone said. “We just have a bit longer of a transition period for the folks that are going to be in that library space.”
The library, which has been in one of the modular units at the school, will temporarily stay in a modular under that plan, but it won’t be in the same space the library was because that will have to be moved for playground space, committee Chairman Bill Brong said.
“They’re all going to go away,” Brong said of the modulars, “but we’re just going to move one over there so we can have the temporary library.”
The delays put the work about 40 days behind schedule, Stone said.
“We were originally scheduled to occupy the entire building on September 22 according to the bid schedule,” he said. “We’re now projecting that to be the end of October — October 29.”
In answer to board member Donna Scheuren’s question of whether the time that was lost could be made up over the summer, Brong said efforts are being made to push the schedule up where possible, but said the discovery of the fuel tank pushed
back completion of the roof.
“If we would have been under roof,” Brong said, “we could’ve worked a lot more this winter.”
This is the first major renovation at EMC since it was built in 1962 and added to seven years later, according to district information during the planning stages. The school did not have enough space for current educational programs, resulting in closets, hallways and the principal’s office being turned into teaching space, the information said. Modulars were added in 1993 and 1998.
The additional space also will allow the school to no longer have the cafeteria and gymnasium sharing the same space.