School projects nearly finished



When school resumes Aug. 11, Brownstown Central Community School Corp. officials are optimistic construction at all three buildings will be complete.

Contractors are putting the finishing touches on projects at each school building, which focus mainly on security and technology. Work is budgeted around $2 million at each building.

Superintendent Greg Walker said he is “very pleased” with how they have turned out.

“Obviously, we were way behind in technology at all three buildings; and the advancements we’ve made there, our teachers love it,” Walker said. “Ones that were scared to use an interactive whiteboard, now you couldn’t take it away from them.”

Security at each building has been tightened. Visitors now go through one set of doors to enter the main office, and a second set of doors that goes into a hallway remains locked. Other security work included interior and exterior camera and surveillance systems and keyless electronic entry for other doors for teachers and staff.

Hal Kovert with Kovert Hawkins Architects of Jeffersonville recently provided project updates to the school board. He said the firm has done certificates of substantial completion on all three projects.

Contractors — T&G Construction Co. for the elementary and high school and Poole Group Inc. for the middle school — now are running through a “punch list” for each building to see what work remains.

At the high school, the main project remaining is placing a heating, ventilation and air conditioning unit for the industrial arts classroom. Walker said that initially the unit was to be placed in the ceiling of the classroom, but it was too big, so it had to be changed to a rooftop unit.

Kovert told industrial arts teacher Dan Schwartz he hopes to have the unit fully operational by the first week of school.

Work was completed in the kitchen and cafeteria. The kitchen now has a new walk-in cooler, kitchen hood and air conditioning, and the cafeteria was expanded to allow space for students to charge electronics and use microwaves.

The expanded area used to be where administrative offices were located, but it now will be used for the technology department, which moves from an office in the gymnasium to the academic wing.

School board member Mary Lou Burcham asked Kovert about the kitchen renovation, saying some people felt they were going to have less working space. He said the work came out as expected.

An antiquated system was updated with new equipment, and new insulation was placed in the walls, Kovert said.

“What they went back with was a premanufactured wall system, and they probably lost, I’m going to say, 2 or 3 inches in each direction overall,” he said. “But that’s really the extent of it. It’s not like they lost a huge amount. It wasn’t that large to begin with, but there wasn’t any way to enlarge that space.”

In the new technology department area, the only work that remains is getting the air conditioning connected.

The original construction plans didn’t include any work on the former main office space because then-Superintendent Jim Terrell didn’t know how it was going to be utilized. Since then, a decision was made on the use of that space, so carpet, painting and lighting work was completed.

Burcham also asked Kovert if aspects of the renovations took more money than originally expected, which could take away from money for future projects.

Kovert said that at the high school he was asked to place additional security cameras near the office, and there were issues with some of the electrical wiring on main equipment in the kitchen.

“We took advantage of the other construction that was occurring in there and had the electrician pull new wiring into the space,” he said of the kitchen.

These were examples of enhancements to the project, Kovert said.

“Any time you do renovation work, there’s always going to be some unforeseen things, and that’s why we have the contingencies built into it,” he said. “I think you should never go into it with the expectation of, ‘Well, we’re always going to have a lot of money left at the end’ because that’s what the contingency is for, is to take care of those kind of things.”

Kovert told Walker and the board they were still within budget on all three projects.

“The elementary is well within our budget,” he said. “It had the most margin in it. The high school was a lot tighter just because more work and more things are involved.”

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