— by Margie Doyle —
Behind the chain link fences at the Orcas Island School District campus, the work of Tiger Construction and subcontractors has been simmering all summer long.
Every day achieves some new benchmark towards completion of the “2012 Bond Project” to update the public education buildings.
Behind the high school, the new Career and Technical Education (CTE) building is being framed in.
And the new modular building arrived right in the middle of the board’s meeting in the High School Commons. It will go on the concrete pad behind the District Office, and will start off housing the school library and the English Language Learners (ELL) office while construction is underway in other parts of the campus.
Contractors are ahead of schedule, project manager Liz LeRoy reported to the School Board on Thursday, August 28. She commented on the labor-intensive work required this month to restore telephone and internet capabilities to the school, as “very exciting behind-the-scenes work. Everyone is working hard on all sides — construction, utilities, school staff — tech has been great.”
When School Board President Scott Lancaster asked whether the district or the construction company would be responsible for the costs of the electrical work, LeRoy said that the “underground change orders are allowed within the contingency [funding] and that responsibility is “combined.” The undergrounding involved is “categorized as unforeseen conditions.”
She continued, “This is probably the biggest risk period. But we’ve had excellent weather. The next risk period is next summer when we do the entry drop-off work for safety along School Road.”
“We are working through the fencing [surrounding the construction site] , making sure it’s tight, tight, tight and over-communicating to the contractor that there is to be no driving through the school site during class hours.”
Superintendent Eric Webb told the board that the old gym now has new lights and the plumbing and heating-ventilation systems will be in place so that the building can be in use at the beginning of school.
He announced some recent personnel changes, including hiring Glenda Smith, who has taught for 20 years at Waldron Island School, as an additional kindergarten teacher (currently there are 34 kindergarteners enrolled). Mandy Randolph will add Leadership classes to her Farm-to-Classroom curriculum; Nancy Wahlstrom will move from Special Education pre-school to Elementary Special Ed; and Jessica Staub will be the Middle School Special Education instructor.
In addition, all the teachers who were not given contracts for the 2014-15 school year last spring in a reduction in force (RIF) were hired back.
Superintendent Webb commented on the series of break-ins and vandalism that took place this summer. “It’s frustrating this is happening, when we’re working hard to get everything clean and in place. We’ve had to replace computers and repair breakage.”
He said that the District has been working with the Sheriff’s Department with increased patrols and is researching, “camera options; it’s something we need to look at.”
School starts Wednesday, September 3 for grades 1-12. Kindergarten begins on Monday, September 8.