By Aila Boyd email@example.com
Jim Whitten, capital projects manager for Botetourt County, updated the Economic Development Authority last Friday on the grading of the land on which the new Colonial Elementary School will eventually be located.
Only one day’s worth of grading was completed during the month of February.
He said that to date, only 13 days’ worth of work have been completed on the site. And 50 percent of the major groundwork, which includes the removal of grass and the preparation for compaction, has been completed. However, only 10 percent of the pad that the school will sit on has been compacted. The problem, Whitten explained, has been all of the recent wet weather.
“We need some hot, dry, windy days,” he said.
Luckily, there was a weather-related contingency in the contract.
In order to illustrate just how closely he has been monitoring the situation, Whitten provided members with a detailed calendar which outlined the weather of every day since the date in which the 120-day contract went into effect.
The contractor, F. Clayton Plecker & Sons Inc., responsible for the grading was able to work on the following days: November 19, 20, 21, 27, 28, 29, December 4, 5, 6, 7, January 8, 9, and February 19.
During the meeting, Whitten cited a recent weather report from WDBJ7 that noted that there have only been two weekends that it hasn’t rained in the past 14 months.
Whitten said that the contractor has “done his due diligence on what he can do.” He added that it’s “bad for him because he has all his equipment sitting there and can’t do anything.”
The contractor is paid based on the percentage of work completed.
The architects of the school estimate that it will take roughly 16 months to complete the school once construction has commenced. Whitten cautioned that as long as construction is started by May, the planned fall 2020 opening of the school will happen.
In order to meet the May deadline, Whitten explained that the contractor has agreed to work double shifts on days that it isn’t raining and that the soil is dry.
“We’re really hoping we can get some dry weather,” Whitten said.
The deadline for general contractors to submit applications to be pre-qualified to submit a bid for the construction of the school closed yesterday at 3 p.m.
The screening process was used to ensure that only qualified and capable contractors were allowed to bid on the project.
“We’re not trying to push people out, but trying to get people in that are qualified,” Garry Larrowe, county administrator, said.
Whitten noted during the meeting and before the prescreening deadline that a lot of companies had expressed an interest in the project. Ideally, he said, at least six bids would be submitted.
The open period for submitting a bid for the project will open on March 15.
The Economic Development Authority has the ability to award the contract on its own without input from the Board of Supervisors. It will meet for a special meeting on April 26 at 2 p.m.