Construction to begin March 1 at high school

Construction to begin March 1 at high school by M. Jill Karolevitz If weather conditions remain cooperative, construction at Vermillion High School will begin March 1.

Vermillion School Superintendent Robert Mayer met Feb. 8 with Terry Muldoon, of DLR Group, Omaha, NE, the architect, and Ron Wiltgen of Wiltgen Construction Co., LeMars, IA, the general contractor, to discuss some of the initial details of the project. Curt Cameron, assistant VHS principal, Don Donahoe, VHS head custodian, and Gary Culver, athletic director, also attended the meeting.

Mayer summarized the meeting for the Vermillion School Board Monday night.

One of the major areas of concern regarding the contract, he said, was the August, 2001 completion date for the entire project.

�That�s about two years after the project was approved by the voters and that�s too long,� Mayer said. �I asked the contractor if we could focus on at least getting the gymnasium completed for occupation by December 2000.

�We asked for the gymnasium because it takes less time and we want to get away from the 6 a.m. practices,� Mayer said. �It�s not that athletics are a priority � it just fits because the auditorium has to come last and the library/commons can only be worked on when the students aren�t there.�

Mayer added that the contractor �felt he could,� work on the gymnasium first. �He can�t guarantee that date, but he said he would make an effort,� Mayer said.

Once construction begins, the east parking area and the east entrance doors to the high school building will be closed to students, staff and the public until the entire project is completed in the fall of 2001.

�This will be a major inconvenience for a lot of people for virtually a year and a half,� Mayer said. �We�re working with the city in hopes that we can get parking on the street.

�We hope we can get cooperation with the city on the parking situation,� he continued. �But, like Mayor Bill Radigan said, this is a project that was overwhelmingly approved by the public, and the city needs to cooperate as much as it can. So I think something will be worked out.�

Mayer added that traffic will increase in the area of the high school, due to the construction.

�People need to understand that there will be a lot of construction traffic by that high school,� he said. �It�s a very busy street anyway, but there will be a definite change in the pattern that everyone is used to. We just hope people will understand and work with it.�

While the east doors are closed for construction, access to the school will be located at the existing north side entrance. Construction workers, however, will not be allowed into the existing high school building except for work related activities. In addition, the entire site is designated as �no smoking.�

�The contractors will work five days a week, from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.,� Mayer said. Many of the workers will come from LeMars, but some hiring will be done locally.

In order for all parties involved to maintain communication, construction meetings will be held �every two weeks, once everything gets going, and reports will be sent out,� Mayer said.

The superintendent was pleased with the Feb. 8 meeting.

�This was the best meeting I�ve had since this thing started,� he said. �Ron Wiltgen is excited to be a part of this and is ready to start.�

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