School renovation ‘in pretty good shape’

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A July picture of Granville Board of Education member Ed Vladyka showing fellow board members the progress of a "modern-day tech shop" room.

The Granville Central School District is close to completing phase two of its renovation project at the Junior/Senior High School.

But it’s not at 100% yet, according to a building committee report to the Board of Education delivered by board member Ed Vladyka. And portions of the phase one work are being repaired at the contractor’s expense.

All summer long, LeChase Construction of Schenectady and Schoolhouse Construction Services of Delhi have been working on the interior and exterior of the high school building.

Vladyka and school superintendent Tom McGurl said lingering impacts of COVID-19 have caused struggles with getting materials, manpower and equipment to stay on track with goals and deadlines.

“All in all, I think we’re in pretty good shape,” Vladyka said. “I would say the latest (it will take), the first of October, all things will be finished and completed and they’ll be out of here.”

However, issues with phase one in 2020 have caused concern and were addressed this past week.

“Let’s start with the big elephant that was in the room the other day,” Vladyka said. “You are going to see excavators tearing up lots of money that we spent last year because after numerous conversations, last year’s contractors started to see things our way that cracked concrete and discolored concrete is not an acceptable product that we are paying for.

“So, they are now tearing up by the concession stand of the football field because it was cracked, you’re going to see a big section that’s been torn up in the front courtyard because it’s discolored and another section over by Tom’s (McGurl) office that’s cracked that will be repoured either tomorrow or Thursday. That is completely on their dime, not ours.”

Vladyka reported room 139, which will serve as the 3-D printing room and multiple teachers’ classrooms, has been completed already, as well as several air filtration handlers being installed, and will all be ready for the first day of school.

Final touches are being made on the old Special Education room, the cafeteria and the auditorium, where the expectation is that those rooms will be completed by Sept. 7.

“The cafeteria, Tom and I were in there this morning, is starting to look really sharp,” Vladyka said. “We won’t have the new furniture, but the old furniture will go back in for the time being until the new furniture gets here.”

The furniture Vladyka mentioned are café booths with blue and gold fabric.

The auditorium will be periodically opened and closed for programming of equipment, but the installation of the house light/ceiling lighting panels that suit the district’s expectations will hopefully be approved and installed next summer upon completion of the build.

“We are waiting for them to mock up an actual overhead light, not just tell me this is what it’s going to look like, with a new-style lens, unless they have one of those entire units built,” McGurl said. “They’re going to bring it in, install it and we’ll decide if it meets our standard.”

Two rooms in the technology wing of the building will not be ready for day one.

“Where the greenhouse is, that room will not be ready to go before school starts,” Vladyka said. “They are not going to get some of the supplies, some of the doors are not going to get here. There would be no way to secure the room safely for the kids, so that room would probably be a two-week delay.

“The next room down, same problem. The big outdoor doors that go in there are not here, some of the hardware is not here for them . . . so that room will not be turned over to us, again, probably mid-September.”

The district is still anticipating phase three, which will take place in the high school library and the middle school wing, to begin ideally when students are on break.

“Phase three is just as busy as this summer, if not a little bit more,” McGurl said. “If I were the construction company, I would try to get in during the breaks to knock out some of the easy stuff and get it out of the way. That doesn’t mean that’s what they’re going to do. They could do what they did this summer and come in right when school is over and take over right at that point and then very likely we’ll be having this conversation next year, only based on the middle school wing and the library.”

Vladyka mentioned some concerns with the older areas of the building being worked on, including the possible presence of asbestos.

“We mitigated a lot of the potential pitfalls we could run into because next year we’re going to get into the old parts of the school where you can run into things like asbestos and such, in which they tore up the floor in different areas and tested for different areas and see if it’s actually there, make sure it’s not,” Vladyka said. “So, you’re running a very aggressive schedule based on those, god forbid we have a hiccup.”

“It could, realistically, if there is a hiccup, we’ll go into a phase four,” McGurl said.

“There’s only so much we can do, so let’s do the best we can,” said board president Audrey Hicks.