The work has begun.
It is early in Yuma School District-1’s $32 million expansion/renovation project, but on-site work has started at Yuma Middle School, where about $2 million worth of work is to be done this summer.
Asbestos abatement at the Yuma Middle School kitchen was done last week. A crew from All Star Environmental did the work.
General contractor/architect Neenan Archistruction is expected to begin on the YMS kitchen update this week. Most equipment will be updated, along with new sewer and water lines, new electrical, and wall, ceiling and floor upgrades. It will remain a serving kitchen but will be up to code. The alignment for serving the students also will be upgraded in order to make for more efficient service.
Junior high teachers spent time in the last month completely cleaning out their rooms, with everything stored in railroad car type units set up on the outdoor basketball court area.
Neenan’s crews will spend the summer upgrading the HVAC, lighting and windows in the junior high wing.
The pick-up/drop-off area at YMS and Morris Elementary also will be realigned this summer in the hope for better efficiency when school resumes. Part of the plan entails the school buses dropping off and picking up students behind the schools on the west side.
Superintendent Dianna Chrisman said YMS will be the main focus of work this summer, along with the new auxiliary gym/P.E. classroom at Yuma High School.
The Yuma-1 Board of Education approved a final guaranteed maximum price (GMP) on the YMS work during its regular monthly meeting, Monday night at the district office in downtown Yuma — while members of the eighth-grade class celebrated their “promotion” (which was to be that night) with a vehicle parade up and down S. Main St., involving a lot of honking.
The GMP was approved at $2.2 million.
Chad Rayl with owner’s representative Project One told the board that initially, during the schematic drawing stage, it looked like it would be around $1.9 million. However, it has been driven up, for one by a change to the new bus loop on the west side, but mostly by the impacts of COVID-19.
Rayl said it is driving up costs for reasons such as workers being required to travel separately, a limit to how many workers can be in a room at once, and the need for more tools.
He said the construction budget can handle the increase, and hopefully the COVID-19 protocols will be lessened eventually, at which point the district can revisit the costs and possibly bring it down a bit again.
Also, the worst-case deadline for work to be completed at YMS is October 1, whereas before it was at the end of August or early September. Rayl stressed that is worst-case, and noted it could be moved up as crews get to work, and possibly could do more shifts to keep the work moving efficiently. When asked about potential extra costs, Rayl responded that the district will have to balance having more work shifts with costs to determine if it is worth it.
The Guaranteed Maximum Price approved Monday night was just the first of four that will come before the board of education in the next month or so. Next up is the GMP for the auxiliary gym at YHS, followed by the GMP for the new wing at YHS, and then the guaranteed maximum price for the renovation work of the current YHS.
Chrisman told the board Monday night that it might require some quick special meetings to approve those GMPs so as not to slow down the construction process.
While work is getting going now at YMS, it will not be long before crews also get going on the YHS auxiliary gym/P.E. classroom. One also will begin seeing dirt moved for the new wing at YHS this summer, particularly since all utilities need to be rerouted.
Going back to COVID-19 — because really what report would be without a novel coronavirus reference at this point? — Chrisman and Rayl told the Pioneer late last week that numerous workers will be coming into the community in the near future. They said Neenan is establishing protocols to minimize the ability to spread the virus, including restricting the amount of workers on-site, and the wearing of masks and gloves. They acknowledged it might slow the start of the project, but the hope is to reassess as the days, weeks, and months go by, and possibly make up for lost time later in the project.
As of now, though, at least the $32 million project is off and running, at least as fast as it can in this day and age.
The work has begun.