Oconee County High School will have 12 classrooms ready for use when students return on Aug. 1, rather than the eight originally scheduled to be ready for the beginning of the school year, Jake Grant, director of facilities, told the Board of Education on Monday.
Grant also said that the replacement of the tracks at North Oconee High School and Oconee County High School and the installation of artificial turf at the stadium fields for the two schools is on schedule and will be completed for the first home football games of the year.
Grant told the Board how pleased he was that he was able to turn over the completed new Dove Creek Elementary School on Hog Mountain Road in the far west of the county to its principal on May 30 so she could prepare for the opening of school on Aug. 1.
The director of facilities told the Board that the paving of the roadway leading to the entrance to Dove Creek Elementary is behind schedule, but he said he had been told it will be ready for the ribbon cutting ceremony and school tours the Board has planned for 10 a.m. on July 24.
Oconee County High School
Grant told the Board that the new D Wing at Oconee County High School is being furnished and will be ready for teachers when school starts.
|Oconee County High School D Wing 7/12/2018|
The D Wing faces out to Hog Mountain Road and contains eight classrooms.
Grant said the additional four completed classrooms are in B Wing.
The remaining five classrooms on A wing and three classrooms on K wing will be ready in December, Anisa Sullivan Jimenez, director of communications for Oconee County Schools, told me in an email message yesterday.
The Board awarded an $8.6 million contract in December of last year to Kevin Price Construction, 2500 Daniells Bridge Road, for the upgrade to Oconee County High School.
The construction is being funded through voter-approved Education Local Option Sales Tax revenues.
Eight temporary classrooms were removed when construction got underway.
Tracks And Stadiums
Grant told the Board that the construction on the tracks and fields at the two high school stadiums is going well and is scheduled to be completed on time.
|Oconee County High School Stadium 7/3/2018|
The rebuilding of the track is ongoing at North Oconee County High School, Grant said, and when that work is completed “in a couple of weeks” the construction crews will move to Oconee County High School and complete the track there.
The Board of Education approved a contract for $2.2 million with Sports Turf Company of Whitesburg, in Carroll County, west of Atlanta, to replace the tracks at North Oconee High School and Oconee County High School and to install artificial turf at the stadium fields for the two schools.
Funding for the sports fields upgrades also will come from ELOST and from general funds.
Director of Communications Jimenez said the fields will be ready for the first home football game at Oconee County High School on Aug. 17 and the first home football game at North Oconee High School on Aug. 24.
Dove Creek Site
Grant reported to the Board on Dove Creek Elementary before turning to construction at Oconee County High School and at the two stadiums.
Construction of the four-building, 48-classroom Dove Creek Elementary cost $13.2 million and is being paid for by revenue from the voter-approved ELOST. Amacher Brothers Construction Company from Doraville built the school.
“We’re just thrilled to have the school in the shape it is right now,” Grant told the Board, and added that he was pleased to be able to have turned “the keys” over to Susan Stancil, the new principal, at the end of May.
Grant reminded the Board it has gotten a schedule from the county in February for work on V.M. Osborne Road, Osborne Road and Hog Mountain Road, which border the triangular parcel on which the school is located.
The February schedule showed all work on the site to be completed by July 13 of this year.
“On July 6 we received another schedule for the roadway,” Grant said. “This schedule that we received on July 6 has a couple of things that I wanted to point out,” he added.
|Dove Creek 6/12/2018|
Hog Mountain Road, Left, V.M. Osborne Road, Top Right
“First of all I, wanted to let you know that the steel pipe for the gas line relocation was delivered to site on June the 29th,” Grant said.
He then noted that the July 6 schedule shows a start date of July 2 for installation of the pipeline.
“The contractor actually mobilized today to start that installation work,” Grant said.
Contact With County
“We’re constantly are in contact with Emil Beshara, the public works director for the Oconee County Board of Commissioners,” Grant said, “and he gave us some updates, today even.”
“The finish date for all of this work,” Grant said, “is scheduled for the 26th day of October in 2018.”
“Our latest information,” Grant said, is that paving for “the main parent entrance for the school is scheduled to start on July the 19th, this Thursday, and finish on July the 20th.
“I’ll just point out to you that on this schedule we received on the 6th that the scheduled date was the 13th of July. But they have told us today that they believe that they will finish this coming Friday.”
Board member Wayne Bagley asked for details of the construction of the base for V.M. Osborne Road, but the Board did not otherwise respond to Grant’s report. V.M. Osborne Road was a gravel road before the construction began.
In early 2017, the Board of Education spent $1.1 million to purchase four parcels on Hog Mountain Road between Osborne Road and Dewey Road northwest of U.S. 78 for the Dove Creek Elementary School and a future middle school.
According to School Superintendent Jason Branch, the School System first learned of the existence of a pressurized gas pipeline along the edge of the property in December of last year.
The 8-inch steel, high-pressure distribution pipeline follows Hog Mountain Road from just northwest of U.S. 78 to downtown Winder. It is on the western side of Hog Mountain Road at the Dove Creek site, or along the eastern side of the school property.
The pipeline was built in 1967 and is owned by the city of Winder, which has been providing natural gas to customers since 1956, according to Roger Wilhelm, Winder Utility Department director.
According to Oconee County Public Works Director Beshara, as Hog Mountain Road has been widened over the years, it has been paved over the pipeline in some places.
The Winder pipeline connects with the major Transo pipeline as it crosses Hog Mountain Road just northwest of U.S. 78. The 10,200 mile Transco pipeline carries natural gas from South Texas to New York City and serves 12 states.
Wilhelm told me in a telephone conversation Tuesday that the city has about 6,700 meters in service in Walton, Barrow and Oconee counties. The Winder Gas Department has about 300 customers in Oconee County, he said.
The Dove Creek School site has been planned to have two entrances, one off Hog Mountain Road for buses and the other off V.M. Osborne Road for cars driven by parents.
Hog Mountain Road, a state route, has to be widened to accommodate those two entrances, and the state must approve any changes to the road.
The county, not the School System, is responsible for costs of road work at school sites, and the Board of Commissioners voted in March to spend $2.6 million for construction of the road modifications for the school’s entrances.
There is disagreement about when the county learned of the need for relocation of the gas pipeline. The March contract with E.R. Snell of Snellville did not include those costs.
Who Will Pay?
The Board of Education and the Board of Commissioners have struggled with how to manage the extra costs of construction resulting from the existence of the gas pipeline.
The Board of Commissioners voted in May to spend $28,777 for additional right of way for the project and in June agreed to spend an additional $322,481 for the labor costs of relocating the high pressure gas line.
The additional spending for the gas pipeline relocation was agreed upon as a modification of the Snell contract. The work is being done by Harrison and Harrison Inc. of Athens.
The Commission agreed to assume the additional labor costs for the relocation when the city of Winder agreed to pay for the materials needed.
The video of the Board of Education meeting on Monday is below.
Grant made his report to the Board on construction projects at 19:07 in the video.
The three pictures used above come from Grant’s presentation to the Board and were provided to me by Director of Communications Jimenez.