Fort Mill school capital projects keep pace with wet weather

jmarks@fortmilltimes.comAugust 12, 2013 

— A lengthy list of construction projects this summer hasn’t kept the rain from falling. But, Fort Mill School District leaders say, the rain won’t keep those projects from being delivered on time.

Assistant Superintendent Tommy Schmolze said the Nation Ford High School football field is game-ready now after a synthetic turf installation this summer. Turf began hitting the ground at Fort Mill High School last week. It’s now ready for the Sept. 6 home opener.

Other projects aren’t so pressed for time, but keeping on schedule means plowing ahead on pace despite constant rain.

“It’s been a busy summer,” said Jim Britton with Cumming Corp., a Fort Mill-based construction management company.

According to the National Weather Service, the Charlotte area saw about 7.5 inches of rain in July after more than 7.3 inches in June.

The construction site heaviest hit by rain is Tega Cay Elementary School. Workers already lost 11 days due to weather, Britton told the board last week. Brick veneer began last week and windows will be in mid-month. A sidewalk, curb and gutter were taken out with the installation of turn lanes, but will be replaced.

Britton said features of the coming Tega Cay school include high impact partition walls that “saved a few dollars” and provide more flexibility with learning space without weakening the structure.

“You literally cannot put a fist through it,” he said.

A 72,000-cubic-foot retention pond is in place, too. While not as consistently wet, last summer brought some significant rainfalls with some hitting at the worst stage for erosion control. Britton called it “living a nightmare,” but said steady rains this summer haven’t caused problems.

“We’ve got that behind us,” he said.

Tega Cay Elementary will open for the 2014-15 school year. Doby’s Bridge Elementary School near the Massey subdivision has a “pretty significant wall” in place for retention and is on track for the same opening. A new Riverview Elementary School will open in 2014, too.

The Riverview replacement school site on Hwy. 21 Business got a later start than the others, with a spring bond vote needed to begin work.

“They’ve been pushing and making time, almost seven days a week at times,” Britton said.

Britton said there will, despite the weather, be “plenty of time to finish” ahead of deadlines for releasing a bid and constructing the school.

Other smaller projects are moving along, too. Nation Ford has a paved pad in place this year for use by a variety of student groups. Principal Beverly Bowman said students began using it two weeks ago. There’s also a room at the school to be used for the JROTC program, which is just about complete.

Overall, an ambitious list of capital improvements should remain on schedule barring worse luck with weather than what’s already come, Schmolze said.

“Everything’s on track,” he said.

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