Weather causes delay of VHS construction by M. Jill Karolevitz South Dakota�s infinite variety of weather causes many types of delays � not the least of which is construction.
Wiltgen Construction of LeMars, IA, has run into the challenges of a harsh winter, which has caused the company to fall behind in the construction project at Vermillion High School.
�They�re not willing to say how far behind they are, or change job priorities,� said Superintendent Robert Mayer, who met with the contractor on Jan. 10. �But if they see the rest of the winter causing more delays, they will re-prioritize.
�The auditorium will take a back seat if that is necessary,� he continued. �It will not be needed immediately, so it�s probably the most logical thing to delay.�
The chief focus is to complete the kitchen, commons and library by fall, according to Mayer.
�But I had hoped the gymnastics and wrestling areas would be ready for this season,� he said. �The main problem, however, was that there was no heat. They had problems with MidAmerican Energy to make the change over to get the heaters hooked up. That significantly delayed the project in that area. If we would have had heat, we would have been in there by Dec. 31.�
Occupying the gymnastics and wrestling areas will now occur closer to the end of January, Mayer added, according to a new schedule provided to him this week by Wiltgen.
The entire project was to be completed by Aug. 15. Construction started in March of 2000.
�The preliminary dirt work cost about a month of time, so that has to be figured into the delay, too,� Mayer said.
Mayer is disappointed with the weather-related slow-down in progress, but he has nothing but praise for the construction company and work that has been completed thus far.
�We have been very satisfied with the general contractor,� he said. �It�s a family business and they take pride in their work. They are cooperative, competent and strive to meet our needs. They have a commitment to this project. I would recommend them to anyone.�
A bright spot in the construction project is that the basketball and volleyball practice gym was completed on time � Dec. 1, 2000.
�It�s not totally finished, but I�m so tickled we can use it,� Mayer said. �They�re practicing in it now and it will probably be used for JV games. But we still need the scoreboard and bleachers installed.�
Using the new area has eliminated 6 a.m. athletic practices, which also makes Mayer happy.
�Practice at 6 a.m. is not good for kids academically,� he said. �It�s also too early to call off if there�s inclement weather, and that�s a major relief for me.�
He added that the locker rooms will be ready by fall.
�We�ll finally have locker rooms for everyone,� Mayer said.
The library expansion project � knocking out walls to the old commons and kitchen � will be tackled this summer.