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Construction on Rowe school nears completion

RANCHO SANTA FE — It is crunch time for construction workers, trying to complete the new R. Roger Rowe School before school begins Sept. 7.
“We’re huffing and puffing, but we’re doing well,” said Tim Ireland, project manager.
Just before the school board meeting on Aug.
4, Superintendent Lindy Delaney led what would probably be the last official tour of the school before the school year begins.
“It’s like a palace,” said board President Scot Cheatham upon his return from the tour.
“We still have some inside painting and carpeting that go like that,” Ireland said snapping his fingers.
Ireland told the board that most of the work will be done before the students arrive, but some will have to be finished on weekends, probably through October.
The project has not been without problems, however, in these last days of construction.
“There are some striated panels in the administration building and they are not lining up properly,” Ireland said. “These are expensive panels and we want perfection.”
Also, he said other panels don’t stay flush together in a lot of locations.
Ireland said they will reject the work and withhold pay from the contractor until the defects are repaired, which would be sometime next spring.
Because of contributions not arriving as expected, the performing arts center will be unfinished when school starts.
“The performing arts center is a work in progress,” Delaney said. “We will open it with carpeting, our blue chairs and no curtain, except for the fire curtain. Once we start using it, people will support it.”
She said there is now an active fundraising committee with many ideas on how to pay for the work remaining including selling chairs in the theater for $1,000 each.
Ireland said that the whole project may come in at about 1 percent over budget, which is in the ballpark of most construction projects of this size. He said he will know more when all the change orders and other expenses are accounted for.
“Coming in at 1 percent over budget is very good,” Cheatham said.
“The taxpayers can feel really good,” said board member Carlie Headapohl.
Delaney said she and her staff can hardly wait to move into the new school and they appreciate the space.
“It’s beautiful,” said board member Richard Burge. “Absolutely gorgeous.”