Board member cites lingering concerns on $25.4M Strough Middle School project

Dave Gymburch
Staff writer
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Posted 5/18/19

Work still to be completed for a Strough Middle School renovation, eight months after the 801 Laurel St. building reopened, was addressed Thursday by a Board of Education committee that also raised …

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Board member cites lingering concerns on $25.4M Strough Middle School project

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Work still to be completed for a Strough Middle School renovation, eight months after the 801 Laurel St. building reopened, was addressed Thursday by a Board of Education committee that also raised some lingering questions about the project.

Among other topics during the board’s buildings and grounds committee meeting, it reviewed upcoming summer buildings and grounds work at some other schools.

• At the Strough building, work has started on a “punch-list” of about 150 general items, school district Director of Facilities III Alex Rodriguez told the committee.

The contractors’ work can include various categories such as painting spots and fixing scuffs, scrapes and broken tiles among the steps, he said afterward, also noting a separate list of about 200 items relating to work on doors.

Meanwhile, board and committee member Lawrence Posselt said he is awaiting information regarding “some of the materials and workmanship.” He referred to “my concern...we’re getting what we were supposed to get,” adding he has “real concerns with the entire project....I’m looking for specific documentation.”

He said he has asked for written documentation from engineers and architects who worked on the project, but did not elaborate.

The Strough building reopened last September after being vacated during the 2016-17 and 2017-18 school years for a $25.4 million renovation. Strough’s seventh- and eighth-graders were temporarily relocated to other sites during the project.

The “punch-list” work is “in process and underway,” said Rodriguez. “We’re planning on checking again when the work is done....I think things are going OK so far.” The target date for closing out the work is June 7, he noted afterward.

• Among work to be done at schools this summer, Rodriguez said the RFA gym floor is to undergo finishing, plus dust on gym air ducts will be cleared.

At the Joy Elementary School playground, a “spider-web” play equipment item will be taken out, said Rodriguez. Joy Principal Andria Lacey has expressed concern about a “web apparatus” rope-netting for climbing. Concerns include difficulties in assisting students if they get to the top of it and become scared.

Also, Rodriguez referred to efforts to get school custodians more involved in playground areas, commenting that he has bought some rakes for them.

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