Down to the wire: Contractors scramble to finish STHS remodel |

Down to the wire: Contractors scramble to finish STHS remodel

William Ferchland, Tahoe Daily Tribune
Jim Grant/Tahoe Daily TribuneHeating and ventilation installer Danny Alvarez uses an 8-foot pole to attach 12 gauge wire to a ceiling on Sunday. The wire will be used for seismic support of the heating and ventilation system in the kitchen area at South Tahoe High School.

It looks worse than it is.

Lake Tahoe Unified School District officials say the $5 million modernization project at South Tahoe High School will nearly be completed when school opens Sept. 3.

During the weekend, furniture was moved into 22 of the 33 classrooms, said Steve Morales, district facilities director.

“There is still work going on in those classrooms but it’s fairly minor work,” Morales said. “We expect to have them all moved in by Tuesday. We expect to have all classroom spaces available for staff by no later than Thursday the 29th.”

Crews are still working on a 60-foot section of underground snow-melting pipes in front of the administration building. Morales expects that to be paved over on Tuesday.

Because of delivery delays, the cafeteria won’t be ready by the opening of school, but should be in operation sometime in the first week, Morales said. With an outdoor barbecue planned for the first day, the cafeteria delay shouldn’t pose a problem.

Principal Karen Ellis advanced the new student and freshmen orientation from Aug. 29 to Sept. 3 at the gold gym, while returning students will pick up their schedules on the first day at the blue gym.

“I can hardly wait to get into the new classrooms,” Ellis said. “We probably won’t have the finishing touches, such as landscaping, but it looks absolutely fabulous.”

The work has gone smoothly, even with the decision to substitute the initial electrical company with the second-lowest bidder a week before the start because of alleged ethical concerns.

Attribute the avoidance of problems to proper foresight beginning in May 2001, Morales said.

“I don’t even know how many planning sessions we had,” he said. “I lost count of them.”

The campus has sometimes been crawling with up to 70 workers who are at the site six days a week. It is the largest summer construction project in the district’s history.

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