Construction inside and outside Brownstown Central High School is going full steam ahead.
School starts Aug. 8, and those involved in the project don’t expect any interruptions for students or staff.
Job foreman Nathan Bowman with Shambaugh & Son of Fort Wayne said electrical crews recently have been working seven days a week, and other workers may soon be doing the same.
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“There will be a little bit of work behind the scenes going on to finish up. There always is,” he said. “You’ve got little odds and ends, and there will be a lot of guys working in the boiler rooms. We concentrate on getting the air conditioning up obviously for the kids to come back, and then we finish up the boiler room a month or two past that.”
Schools officials don’t expect the project to affect the volleyball, tennis or football teams starting their seasons.
Corporation business manager Jade Peters said it’s possible a volleyball scrimmage may have to be played in the middle school gymnasium, but other home events should go on as scheduled. Some of the high school sports teams have used the middle school gym this summer for camps because of construction.
Randy Ude, the corporation’s maintenance director, said working with EMCOR Construction Services and Shambaugh & Son has been a very good experience.
“EMCOR and Shambaugh & Son have been very easy and good to work with,” he said. “They’ve answered all of the questions, gone above and beyond what the school expects and they are very good to work with so far. If you would have asked me last week, ‘Is it going to be done for school?’ I would have probably said, ‘No,’ but we’re starting to see light at the end of the tunnel.”
Most of the new heating, ventilation and air conditioning units and LED lights are set in classrooms and hallways.
Peters said the LED lights only were installed where HVAC work was done.
“We had a chance to upgrade to LED, and they last longer, they are cheaper, they save us money with rebates and stuff,” he said.
Air conditioning units also are being installed in the auxiliary and main gymnasiums for the first time. Peters said that will be nice for volleyball games, physical education classes and graduation.
Work will wrap up in the auxiliary gym soon.
“They’ve lowered the units already and done what they had to do — add coils and they are back up in the air, the piping is to them. It’s just a matter of when they charge up the air conditioning, it will be ready to go. Air conditioning is not working yet,” Ude said.
“One of the things you’ll notice is the sock ducts that are going across, they will be going in a little bit later just because of lead time on getting them ordered,” Bowman said. “The units will still run, though. They will still blow cold air into the area whenever we get the chilled water system going.”
The new bleachers for the main gymnasium are supposed to be in this week, but the railings and concrete for the handicap area and press box are finished, and the concrete has been filled in where workers took out electrical panels, Ude said.
Outside, the final coat of pavement recently was put on for the tennis courts. New poles were needed for the fencing because they were too short, and those have been set. The remaining work includes putting up the fencing and nets and painting the courts.
Ude said a lot of work has been done at the football stadium, but there still are several tasks remaining. The electrical has been installed underneath the stadium, and he expected to have all of the concrete poured by the end of last week.
The new grandstand started going up Saturday, and Ude said he was told that will only take three days. All of the footers and the foundation are set.
Bowman said even when work is done inside and outside the school, time will be spent cleaning up.
“I’ve actually already contacted a company that has already come in and looked at it. We’ve worked with them a lot, and we may not even end up needing them,” he said. “The floors (in the gym) won’t be nice and super-shiny with a fresh coat of wax. We’ll have to do that next year, but we’ll get them polished up.”
The estimated cost of the project at the high school is $7.5 million. That includes around $1 million for the athletics projects, $5.7 million for HVAC improvements, $420,000 for electrical upgrades and $288,000 for soft costs.
Damian Maggos, senior vice president of George K. Baum and Company in Indianapolis, determined what could be done to address the needs at the school without raising property taxes. The corporation is taking advantage of debt falling off to make improvements, Peters said.
In 2025, debt from work done at the middle and elementary schools in 2010 and at the high school in 2014 will be paid off. The corporation will have more than $300,000 come from the debt service fund from 2018 to 2024. It will jump to nearly $650,000 in 2025, and then remain at $835,000 from 2026 to 2036.
During that time, the debt service rate will not go above 30 cents.