At a glance
• A soil sample recently conducted at the site of the new middle school indicates the ground is prone to swelling and sinking.
• School district officials plan to install a "deep foundation" under the new building, which will secure a foundational slab atop piers installed in the ground.
• The upgraded foundation will increase the initial middle school construction costs from $15.5 million to $17.1 million.
• The district plans to apply for $2.1 million in Department of Local Affairs grants to help pay for the project.
Lockers, new science laboratories and a media center.
Features planned for a new Craig Middle School have one element in common: They require a solid foundation to support them.
That necessity recently increased the cost of building the facility after soil samples indicated an upgraded foundation would be necessary to support the structure, said Joel Sheridan, Moffat County School District assistant superintendent, at the School Board's monthly meeting last week.
The new middle school's construction is part of a district-wide building improvement plan. Voters passed a $29.5 million bond issue in November 2007 to fund the project.
An upgraded foundation for the new facility is projected to increase project costs from $15.5 million to $17.1 million, Sheridan said at the meeting, adding $1.6 million to the construction costs for the new middle school.
Sheridan was unavailable for comment Monday.
Northwest Colorado Consultants, a Steamboat Springs firm, recently tested the soil at the existing middle school site, where the district plans to build the new facility.
The company took "a number of samples" and concluded that Craig Middle School was on a "moisture-sensitive place that sinks and swells when wetted," said Brian Len, NWCC president and senior project manager.
The company suggested the district install a "deep foundation" under the new building, which would position a slab atop piers secured in the ground.
The foundation is designed to "reduce the risk of movement associated with those moisture-sensitive soils," Len said.
The district plans to take the company's advice, school officials said. Doing so will require additional funds the district hopes to obtain from a government group.
The district plans to apply for $2.1 million in Department of Local Affairs grants to help pay for the project, said Mark Rydberg, School District finance director.
If granted, the funding request will also help pay for other middle school features, including an upgraded roof design and new auditorium equipment.
The district has no intentions of asking taxpayers for additional funding for the project, Rydberg said.
Unless the scope of the project changes, the price for the new middle school is set.
At its meeting, the School Board approved a contract with The Neenan Co., an architecture and construction firm based in Denver and Fort Collins. The contract guarantees the cost of the project as currently drafted, said Richard Meserve, Neenan archistructor and senior project manager.
The arrangement "minimizes your risk," Meserve told the School Board last week.
Bridget Manley can be reached at 875-1795 or firstname.lastname@example.org