School Board Meeting Thursday and Park Work Shop Thursday in GT. Note City and CJUSD were told the soil was contaminated prior to the sale of the property. They duly noted the information and 100 soil samples can easily miss the dump locations on property that size. This is why in most of the country we don't build schools in Industrial Zones or Land that was used as Industrial in the past.
GRAND TERRACE: High school construction delays may be costly
11:54 PM PST on Tuesday, January 11, 2011
By DARRELL R. SANTSCHI The Press-Enterprise
Colton Joint Unified School District trustees face tough choices in getting construction back on track for the long-awaited Grand Terrace High School.
The school board, which meets Thursday, is being asked to choose between two alternative construction plans -- both of which would push the opening of the school into next year.
One of the alternatives, involving the hiring of a general contractor to complete any work that existing contractors cannot, would cost as much as $7 million. It calls for work to be completed by Dec. 20, eight months later than had been planned.
The other alternative, involving close monitoring of construction work, calls for work to be completed in April 2012.
Either alternative would mean the school will not open as planned in August, which generated complaints from Grand Terrace residents who did not learn of the construction delays until the district's consultant, Vanir Construction Management Inc., sent a formal letter to the district in November saying the work would not finish in time.
Vanir Vice President David Andersontold school board members at a December board meeting that "unusual circumstances and events" had delayed construction of the school.
Vanir Project Director Michael De Vries said buildings on the 58-acre site being demolished to make way for the school contained lead and asbestos, and that workers found water wells, sewage ponds and asbestos pipe underground.
More than 30,000 cubic yards of concrete base material buried under dirt and asphalt had to be removed, he said. Construction crews also found septic tanks, leach lines and a cesspool that had to be drained, removed or filled in.
But the longest delays were caused by rainy weather from November 2009 to February 2010.
School teacher Tobin Brinker criticized Vanir for taking so long to send its letter.
"How much is your reputation worth to you?" he asked officials of the construction management company at the December meeting. "I would hope that Vanir takes a haircut on this along with the school district."
Grand Terrace Mayor Walt Stanckiewitz criticized workmen for not discovering the underground material after having drilled more than 100 test borings as part of pre-construction soil tests.
"Some of it doesn't pass the smell test," he said of Vanir's report.
Several school board members complained that they were caught off guard by the November letter, although Vanir officials said they had been keeping district administrators up to date in weekly meetings.
School board member Kent Taylorsaid he favors hiring the general contractor to prevent more delays.
"It is really about fulfilling a pledge and a promise to the community," he said at the meeting. "Let's accelerate it and get it done."
Board member Roger Kowalski favored the other alternative.
"We are not gaining anything" by finishing the work in December, he said, contending that the school would not be able to open for several months anyway after construction is completed.
"I have lost confidence," board member Randall Ceniceros told Vanir officials. "Every year I anticipate a rainy season in California."
Board President Patt Haro said she, too, was disappointed.
"I don't like being made to look like we are lying to the public," she said.
The $55 million high school would be Grand Terrace's first, housing 2,500 students in 96 classrooms, with a 2,500-seat gymnasium and 96 classrooms.