SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION UNDER WAY

June 14, 2002 11:00 pm

By CHARLES KOCHER

It was a milestone day Thursday for the $14 million construction project in the Brookings-Harbor schools.

The first concrete was poured for one new building, according to construction manager Jim Van Lente, and the first engineered fill started to go into the site of another.

"We're starting to see some of the results of the hard work that has been going on for several years," Van Lente told the monthly forum of the Brookings-Harbor Chamber of Commerce.

Van Lente and members of the school district's School Bond Oversight and Review Committee told chamber members the three new buildings should be "substantially complete" by June 2003, and the renovation of existing structures ready for the new school year in September 2003.

The work is one of the largest construction projects in Brookings' history, committee member Larry Aslinger told the chamber audience. He described the plans for new construction including:

•Six classrooms, a library, computer lab, music room, offices, gymnasium and cafeteria at Kalmiopsis School.

•A cafeteria, stage, library, storage and two new classrooms at Azalea Middle School.

•A cafeteria, full-service kitchen, storage and outside covered area at Brookings-Harbor High School.

The first footings were poured on the Azalea building Thursday, Van Lente said, and the first fill started to go back on site at Kalmiopsis after two weeks of excavation.

"It's going to be unusual for me to have three buildings coming out of the ground at the same time," he added. But he expects the contractor to meet the goals, especially of being under cover by the time winter rains set in this fall.

One of the keys to that speed, said committee member Buzz Hansen, will be the use of pre-fabricated wall panels. The pre-cast concrete panels will be made in Redding even as the sites are being prepared.

They also save costs, Hansen said, by avoiding legal regulations on construction wages and through a "waffle" pattern that saves on concrete but offers more strength.

The high school building in particular, he said, will be "very stable as far as earthquake goes."

The bond committee, he said, took community emergency needs into consideration with the high school building in its design. That includes the installation of two emergency generators that have been acquired through community donations, with a third slated for a mobile unit for use throughout the area.

Aslinger closed the session by sharing two other facilities that can use community donations:

•A new softball field east of Kalmiopsis School. The former field was eliminated by the new construction and the bond committee did not have funds for replacement.

•A year-round swimming pool in the same area. "The school district has the property," Aslinger said, noting several school district and city officials believe that would make a good site for a pool.