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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Construction on Highlands High School Gym "Mostly on Schedule"

G. Michael Graham Photo. The Highlands football team received a redone locker room as a result of the construction at the gym. The players received their locker assignments Monday.
People who attended the Highlands football scrimmage Friday against Cincinnati St. Xavier quickly realized they had to take a small detour to get in from the south gate.

That's because the work to the Highlands High School Gymnasium is not finished yet. The five million dollar project funded via bond sales through the Facility Support Program of Kentucky and The School Facilities Construction Commission along with another capital funding project called Capital Outlay began in the spring at the conclusion of basketball season.

Fort Thomas Independent Schools Director of Operations Jerry Wissman met with Century Construction about 10 days before the recent Board of Education meeting on Aug. 10. At the board meeting, Wissman said the project manager for the gym is leaving the company and Century Construction is behind on the work. FTIS told the compnay they were going to invoke the clause in the contract that the company was not completing the project in a timely manner. The clause lets FTIS hire another contractor at Century Construction's expense as a result. Wissman said FTIS has not had to invoke the clause because Century Construction is making progress with the construction.

"They thought a good portion had been done," Wissman said. "But in reality, some had been done and some of the work hadn't been done up to our standards."

School started on Tuesday. The Highlands football team had to change in the field house for the scrimmage game on Friday, but Wissman said athletes and coaches would start to move into the locker rooms on Monday. Wissman also said the plan is to occupy each portion of the gym as the project is completed.

"This is obviously coming down to the wire, but we don't want to rush anyone through just because," said Brad Fennell, FTIS Board Member. "We can have that (scrimmage) game without having access to the locker room. It's a big picture thing, I think."

Wissman said the school district hoped to start using the locker rooms Aug. 1, but the district knew there was a possibility of mid-August early in the project. He hopes to see the physical education classes and volleyball teams in there in early September.

"Once we can occupy the gymnasium, we will determine when we will begin to host volleyball games in that space," Wissman said. "The gymnasium lobby addition and exterior work won't be complete until mid-November. We expect to occupy that area around Thanksgiving. We added a substantial amount of exterior work, which moved the timelines a few weeks from what we originally intended."

The Ladybird volleyball team is playing home games and practicing in the Highlands Middle School Gym until that time. The first regular season game was Tuesday at home against Beechwood.

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