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Eastside High School replacement construction behind due to weather
Project manager says crews working to make up lost time
Eastside High School replacement project - aerial view
Pictured is an aerial view of the Eastside High School replacement project. During a meeting Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020, Project Manager Jeff Prine said structural steel had been erected for the upper building since the photo was taken. Though about 40 days behind in August due to weather, Prine said crews have since worked hard to get back a week of lost time. (Contributed Photo | Screenshot)

COVINGTON, Ga. — Construction of the Eastside High School replacement project was about 40 days behind in August due to massive amounts of rain in early spring, but now Project Manager Jeff Prine said crews are working diligently to get back on schedule.

During the Newton County Schools Board of Education meeting Tuesday, Prine delivered a progress update, as well as a financial update on the facility to be located at 140 Georgia Hwy. 142 in Covington. It is expected to accommodate approximately 1,650 students. 

Since construction began in the summer of 2019, Prine said much work had been completed or was nearing completion.

“(The delays were) primarily tied back to the wet weather we had in early spring and all summer,” Prine said. “But since August, we’ve been able to work with the contractor to make up about a week of that time, and they’ve been working on the weekends. They brought in extra crews, and in all, they’ve been working longer days. So they really are doing their job trying to make up days, and we’re confident that we’ll be able to continue making progress to get those days back so we can get back on schedule.”

He reported 99% of site grading and utilities, and under slab utilities were finished. Approximately 95% of drives and parking were wrapped up, including the clearing and grading of the school’s entrance off U.S. Hwy. 278. The construction of arched culverts for the entrance was just getting underway.

“They’ve done an extensive amount of work in putting road control measures in to make sure that you don’t have any kind of sediment down in the stream area,” Prine said of the entrance construction.

On-grade concrete was 95% completed, as well as structural steel erection for the school’s lower building, Prine reported. Only 10% of the structural steel had been erected for the upper building.

Sports fields, including football, track, baseball, softball and practice fields, were 85% complete, he said. The fields are currently getting sod, irrigation and fencing installed. Prine said workers started paving the track Wednesday.

Prine expects the lower building roofing and drives and parking to be completed over the next month.

Total cost for the school’s construction stands at $59.48 million. No changes have been made to the budget since the initial contract, Prine said. The district, so far, has been billed for 21% of the cost ($12.65 million).

The school system purchased the 107-acre property for approximately $727,600. The facility is currently expected to be finished by January 2022.

In other business, board members:

  • Approved unanimously the adoption of the FY 2022 tentative budget calendar.
  • Approved unanimously the maintenance program for NextGen financial software be purchased from Harris School Solutions of Niagara Falls, New York. The program period covers the 2021 calendar year and costs $40,395.36, which will be paid from the General Fund.
  • Approved 4-1 (Board Member Eddie Johnson opposed) the cabling services needed for the replacement Eastside High School be purchased from Venture NetComm, Inc. of Loganville, in the amount of $155,474.40 to be paid from the Capital Fund. 
  • Approved unanimously the declaration of surplus property for various items to be properly disposed of.
  • Approved unanimously the board’s FY 2021 legislative priorities.
  • Approved unanimously the personnel matters recommended by the superintendent, as discussed in executive session.