Project delay at East St. John school won’t create a problem for fall term

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 29, 2008


Staff Reporter

RESERVE – Another delay is expected in the construction of the new 9th grade wing at East St. John High School that was originally planned to be finished in December.

At a school board meeting in December, Lamar Builders received an extra two months to finish the building, moving the completion deadline from late December to February 29h.

On February 26th construction superintendent Mark Hennessy said he expected the project to go on for 4-6 more weeks.

School Architect Alton Darby said it is routine for construction projects to stretch past deadlines due to bad weather and other difficulties, and that when those difficulties are pronounced delays are usually granted.

“We ran into some additional time,” said Darby. “They had some problems with the foundation, finding rubble underneath.”

The foundation, workers found, belonged to a junior high that used to sit on the site and had to be excavated. Also, the project was plagued by inclement weather last year.

“They have done an excellent job under adverse conditions in the beginning for sure,” said Darby.

The school is not set to begin use until the beginning of the 2008-09 school year this August.

“They aren’t ready to move in so it is really not a critical thing,” Darby said of the delay.

The new wing will be used similarly to the 9th grade building in the back of East St John High School as a school expressly for 9th graders that is designed to ease the transition from Junior High to High School.

“It is basically a complete school within itself,” said Darby. “It has commons areas, a full administration unit with the assistant principal. It has everything they need besides the cafeteria.”

The school will have a capacity of 600-650 and features 10-foot wide hallways to facilitate traffic.

Other features include large state of the art computer and science labs and six computer bays per classroom.

“We have the most current data configurations,” said Darby. “You can use data anywhere in the building.”

As a safety and disciplinary precaution the main entrances are situated in front of the Assistant Principal’s office whose office has a series of windows looking out into the hallway allowing viewing of those who enter and exit the building.

For now, however, the windowless frames look out onto un-tiled floors and ceilings and the gradual movement of the workers moving piece by piece towards completion.