Construction crews work on building a new addition to Sunset Elementary School, Thursday. (Mark Wilson Photo)
School officials say they hope construction on Sunset Elementary School will be completed this fall, though opinions differ on whether it will be ready by the start of the next school year.
Construction manager for the school district Kevin Dillon says the scheduled completion date is August.
â€œThatâ€™s what weâ€™re shooting for at this time,â€ Dillon said. â€œAt this point, we donâ€™t really see any large amount of delays that will extend into the new school year.â€
The school districtâ€™s project sponsor, Joe Baca, says he expects construction to be finished earlier than that, by July 5.
â€œThey are a little behind schedule, but I suspect that they will finish on time,â€ Baca said.
Meanwhile, Roswell Independent School District Superintendent Michael Gottlieb provided a later date because of the numerous state inspection tests the school has to pass once construction is finished.
â€œI imagine it will be more like October or November,â€ Gottlieb said.
Construction Project Superintendent Byron Holloway, of Holloway Construction Company, said they have completed most of the interior installation of the east hall, which consists of four classrooms, a library, nursing room and special education offices.
Holloway said they have already installed new metal framing, flooring, electrical, plumbing and piping, but must cover up the framing with sheetrock and paint before it can become functional.
Holloway added that the new addition to the school will be completed by August. The addition includes six new classrooms, a secure walkway into the schoolâ€™s entrance, an outdoor play area for the younger kids called a â€œTot Lot,â€ and school personnel offices. A bus loop, parent-student drop-off area and new parking lot also need to be constructed before deadline, Holloway noted.
Gottlieb said he was pleased with the progress of the project, especially since the asbestos in the school is gone.
While under construction, kindergarten and first-grade students are located in classrooms in another wing of the main building, which was remodelled about three years ago. Other students were relocated to eight portable buildings adjacent to the school.
Sunset Elementary is the fourth school in the district to be renovated and remodelled as part of a push to bring schools up to state code and safety standards. Before this effort, none of the schools in the district had been updated since they were originally constructed in the 1950s and 60s.
University High School, Berrendo Middle School and Sierra Middle School were recently renovated, and four more elementary schools will receive funding for construction if voters pass a general obligation bond in an upcoming August election.
The school district relies on general obligation bonds passed by voters and Public School Capital Outlay Council for funding. PSCOC covers 72 percent of the total renovation cost, if local funds (through bonds) cover the remaining 28 percent and if the district complies with state guidelines.