District’s ‘big summer of construction’ comes to an end

By Bryan Richardson

The start of school represents the end of USD 383’s big summer of construction. About $20 million worth of work took place at seven elementary schools and Manhattan High West. Trisha Brooke-Fruendt, program manager with Universal Construction, said the summer work load has been a huge challenge. Universal Construction is helping guide the district’s renovation projects.

“The last month has been the biggest test for us to get things accomplished,” she said. “We hit a lot of bumps on the road, but we’re getting over those.”

But it’s still not quite over now. Teachers at some schools are still anticipating moving in, certificates of occupancy are still needed and finishing touches are being done.

“Probably the biggest thing is finishing up,” Brooke-Fruendt said. “We have multiple subcontractors on multiple jobs.” She said one company, Manko Windows, is a part of every job.

Once Wednesday arrives, students at Lee and Northview elementary schools and MHS will be able to see the fruits of summer labor at their new facilities.

“Overall, we’ve had a successful summer except for two huge glitches,” Brooke-Fruendt said. “Of course, everyone knows that.”

The glitches she referenced are Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson elementary schools. Those schools will open Friday, two days later than the rest of their counterparts.

The difficulty at Wilson involved the contractor falling three weeks to a month behind schedule. The problem at TR was a structural fix needed for the original building’s floor and roof slab cracks.

Workers at those schools are expecting temporary certificates of occupancy Monday. The delayed start will allow teachers to get their things moved back to the schools and set up Tuesday through Thursday.

Andrea Tiede, Theodore Roosevelt principal, said the delay provides an inconvenience, but everyone needs the opportunity to get things together.

“We appreciate the board for realizing that we as a school need this time to reconnect to our home campus,” she said.

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