School Construction On Schedule

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With the cost of petroleum rising, Payson Unified School District board members and a construction manager discussed the best way to heat the Rim Country Middle School as its remodel progresses during a board meeting last week.

A boiler will heat Julia Randall Elementary School, but the middle school's new structures are too small to warrant such large solution, Tim Brand, a senior program manager for PinnacleOne Construction, told the board.

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Luke Plante, of Inter Mountain West, inspects the working end of a T-955 Rock Trencher and looks for large rocks and broken teeth on the machine at Rim Country Middle School before signaling the operator to continue.

Heat pumps, fired by electricity, are ineffective for schools. A certain amount of cubic feet of fresh air per minute and per student must enter the building. Brand said that necessity negates heat pump possibilities.

"Those (heat pumps) systems don't work for these situations," he said.

Gas heating was originally planned, but with rising petroleum costs, board members requested an analysis to ensure utmost efficiency.

"At the time, the gas pack seemed like the way to go," Brand said.

He defined a gas pack as similar to a heat pump, but one powered by propane or natural gas instead of electricity.

While gas powered systems cost more in today's market, they heat and cool more efficiently than the other options, Brand said.

"I'm not doubting your analysis, but perhaps there's a broader analysis we can do," suggested board member Mike Horton.

Brand said he'd examine the situation more thoroughly.

All construction permits for the $8.9 million Rim Country Middle School remodel have been received, and utilities installed.

Construction on the student pickup and drop-off area is under construction, and the cafeteria is in progress.

Brand said the architect requested more money, and explained that the scope expanded. "It's just a larger project than we anticipated," he said.

The board urged Brand to get the best deal possible.

As of the May 31 construction report, outlined at the board meeting, the middle school's remodel was 16 percent complete, with an expected Aug. 9, 2009 finish date.

Also expected on Aug. 9, 2009 is Julia Randall Elementary School, where the building permit was received a week early.

"I'm still amazed," said Henry Halikowski, with PinnacleOne Construction. He wore his reflective vest to the meeting.

The school's guaranteed maximum cost is $15,077,010.

As of the May 31 construction report, the elementary school was on schedule with 7.2 percent completed.

With monsoons soon to unfurl, board members asked if the construction sites were vulnerable to the potentially damaging storms.

Halikowski said since the soil has no clay, disaster will be avoided. "If you have clay, it takes weeks and weeks to dry out," he said.

For the less extensive projects, Brand reported that a fresh coat of paint, indoors and out, spiffened Payson Elementary, at a cost of $88,000. Flooring cost $137,000, and a security entrance for administration cost $13,000.

Brand said he's seeking cost estimates on new asphalt for the basketball court.

At Frontier Elementary, security fencing will protect the playground and new security lighting will brighten the parking lot.

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