EMC school slated to open on time

The Reporter (Lansdale, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Bob Keeler bkeeler@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @by­bob­keeler on Twit­ter

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.

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