Schools should open on time; work goes on |

Schools should open on time; work goes on

With just four weeks left before Lake Tahoe Unified schools are in session, summer modernization projects at Bijou Community and South Tahoe Middle schools still look, well – far from finished.

Puffy pink fiberglass insulation and scattered tools fill the halls of the middle school. Doorless frames and virtually nonexistent ceilings cling to half built walls.

District Facilities Director Steve Morales said the improvements should be mostly completed by the time classes start on Sept. 11.

“Construction is proceeding well at this point at both projects,” Morales said. “But due to some Department of State architecture changes, we were delayed in some aspects of the project at South Tahoe Middle School.”

Both schools were completely gutted and are receiving major makeovers for the new school year. Some upgrades include asbestos abatement, new electrical distribution, plumbing fixtures and exterior facelifts.

The improvements are possible through Measure C bond monies. In a May 1999 special election, Measure C, a facilities bond to finance critically needed repairs and renovations at Lake Tahoe Unified schools, was passed by 82.6 percent of the votes.

A timely completion of the Bijou project should not be a problem, Morales said. Work at the facility should be done before school starts. Progress at South Tahoe Middle School is not moving quite so quickly, he added.

Reyman Bros. Construction began work May 15 at the middle school. Morales said all major upgrades will be finished when students arrive next month, but there will still be some areas that are incomplete.

“We may not have all of the classrooms available on the fourth of September, as expected, but we do expect to have enough classrooms and areas available to open school, which is scheduled for the 11th,” he said.

Some finishes include carpentry and wood framing. Work on these areas will be done after school hours.

Morales said the building will be finished and dry wall, sealing tiles and light fixtures will be on but some walls may still need painting.

“Door frames may only be primed but the main systems of the school will be up and running and the main structure of the school will be complete and intact,” he said. “And all of the bathrooms should be available for use.”

Also, there have been upgrades made to the front of the building.

“Some of the exterior finishes may not be complete,” he said. “For example, there’s a lot of new masonry, but perhaps all of the finish exterior paneling might not be completed. I just don’t know right now. But it would be items of that nature. I should have a better feel by Aug. 15.”

The district’s contract with Reyman Bros. Construction goes through Sept. 4.

“Overtime is negotiable right now so I really couldn’t comment much at this point,” Morales said. “They’ve been working all day to get it done, but there’s always overtime that’s worked on a fast track project like this. We’re in negotiations with this. There are some structural changes that the state added, so we’re dealing with some costs.”

The middle school project was originally estimated to cost about $2,515,206. The state contribution was estimated at about $1,575,000.

The estimated cost of the Bijou Modernization Project is $2,642,000, with $1,350,000 coming from the state.

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