Middle school construction at budget, ahead of schedule | AspenTimes.com

Middle school construction at budget, ahead of schedule

John ColsonAspen, CO Colorado
Paul Conrad/The Aspen Times

ASPEN Work is ahead of schedule and at budget on the Aspen Middle School replacement project, according to school officials.Superintendent Diana Sirko recently said it appears the new school will be compete before its scheduled move-in date of Sept. 27. She added, “Right now, we think we’re at budget.”Construction of a new core of five classrooms at Aspen Elementary School came in “on time and under budget,” although she said the exact dollar amounts will not be known until the completion of the middle school project.

The new elementary school classrooms, which were built atop an existing core of five rooms, were officially dedicated Jan. 22, with a tour of the new second-floor rooms by the school board and members of the district administration.In a dedication ceremony, fourth-grader Katie Howard joined school board president Laura Kornasiewicz in wielding a pair of “elementary school scissors” to open the new rooms.Katie also penned a winning essay to name the new core of classrooms after her favorite tree, and the new core will henceforth be known as “Willow.” The five older core groupings of classrooms in the school also are named after trees.

But a $33 million school bond issue voters approved last year is paying for the two projects, so until both are finished there is no way of calculating the final construction totals.The district’s construction manager, Dave Detwiler of Integrated Construction Solutions, confirmed this week that because the two projects are linked, exact final construction numbers are not available yet. He estimated the elementary school project cost about $2.6 million, although there is “still some exterior work to be done.”Sirko and Detwiler both said the middle school project is slightly ahead of schedule, though Detwiler cautioned, “All it takes is one day of delays, and all that can change.”

During the tour of the two projects this week, neither the elementary school nor the middle school project has experienced a worker shortage like the ones that reportedly plagued other sites in the upper Roaring Fork River Valley, Detwiler said.Detwiler and Greg Hakes, a superintendent for contractor G.E. Johnson said there are approximately 150 employees on the Aspen campus now.At the peak of the middle school project next summer, once the building is mostly closed in and the interior work is fully under way, there should be about 250 employees workers on the job, Hakes said.