On Tuesday, October 21, DCSD Construction staff presented their third monthly Fernbank Elementary School Construction Update to assembled parents and members of the community. The project remains on schedule for completion in the summer of 2015, with classes for the entire 2015-2016 school year taking place in the new facility on Heaton Park Drive. Highlights of this month’s update:
- The general contractor (R.K. Redding, or RKR) is planning to begin slab on grade (SOG) concrete pours the week of October 27, if weather permits. The schedule calls for 12 pours, each of which take an entire day to complete. The first pour is scheduled to begin at the rear of the site, on the “ground floor” of what will become the rear of the building footprint.
- Structural steel fabrication is complete, with all steel ready to be shipped to the site as soon as the SOG pours are completed and significant vertical construction can begin.
- The underground storm water detention system is in place at the rear of the property and the contractor is in the process of filling and compacting the dirt over the system. Unsuitable soils were discovered on that part of the site during the excavations necessary to accommodate the storm water detention system, which required RKR to bring in “good” fill dirt from an off-site location. This is the pile of dirt that is visible just behind RKR’s construction trailer near Heaton Park Drive. Included in the unsuitable soils that are being removed (the large pile of dirt along the southeastern border of the site) were construction materials from the construction of the original Fernbank building in the 1950s.
- Drilling of the large knob of subsurface granite that was discovered underneath the old building’s gymnasium, cafeteria and kitchen, to allow for the construction of the new building’s foundations at the proper depth, has almost been completed, and will be complete in time for those foundations to be constructed prior to the SOG pours for the front part of the building. RKR was able to complete this task without any change to the project schedule, and managed to do so without resorting to blasting.
- Construction of foundations, walls and the installation of plumbing piping underneath the locations of the concrete slabs are underway.
- In response to an inquiry made at the September meeting, the architect advised that the project has been designed to follow the “Night Skies Initiative”, which seeks to protect wildlife, cut energy waste and minimize light pollution. The fixtures to be installed for the exterior lighting are LED fixtures that distribute light straight down, without any “bleed” upward or out. The current lighting plan restricts all exterior light to the footprint of the property.
- Remaining schedule: Construction of the building envelope has just begun and will continue through December. Interior construction will begin in December and continue through April, 2015. Construction finishes (paint, flooring and other fine-tuning of the interior spaces) will be occur in May and June, 2015, with substantial completion on target for June, 2015. Building systems “startup” will commence in July, 2015, as well as the installation of furniture, fixtures and equipment. Move-in is also scheduled for July, with occupancy and classes beginning in August, 2015.
The next update meeting will take place the week of November 17, at the Fernbank Science Center. Specific dates have yet to be finalized but the time (7:45 a.m.) will remain the same for all future meetings. The specific date for the November meeting will be announced no later than next week.
Fernbank School Council Chair