Middle school foundation increases projected cost


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 bmanley@craigdailypress.com


grannyrett 9 years ago

Come on people! Let's ask some questions! What happens if they don't get the grant? That soil has supported the old school for 60? years, and they just now figured this out?


Globe 9 years ago


Are you so freaking out of the loop you can't see straigt? The foundation for the hospital is already going to cost more becaus they have soil issues on the hill. Anyone with a backhoe could have figured out the hill west of town had expanding soil. My uncle looked at developing houses on that hill over 20 years ago and decided against it because it had bad soil. Why do you think the Ridgeview subdivision went that far west instead of building right next to town? Once again thank you for pointing out the fact that the hospital doesn't like to share information with the public unless it is to their benefit and the CDP can't break a story even if it was made out glass and they hand a handful of hammers. Same reason why the CDP hasn't broken it to the public that the hospital lost a bunch of money last year - The Hospital is buying all kinds of adds with the press and a bad story might hurt revenue. Come on CDP what are you scared of? Why can't you write a real investigative piece on hospital? Don't ask the ones controlling the information, go to the source! Ask the tough questions! Or are you afraid they won't advertise anymore?


taxslave 9 years ago

I don't think anyone should be doing anything until they SHOW US THE MONEY....& the interest rate.


grannyrett 9 years ago

Globe and taxslave-If you want to gripe about the hospital, go to that forum. This is about the school.


Really 9 years ago

I can't believe that the construction management firm who bid on CMS didn't check the soil before bidding. I think the school district shouldn't have to pay more because Neenan screwed up!


Globe 9 years ago

Grannyrhett, call me crazy but wasn't it native that brought up the hospital, I was simply responding to his comment.


CindyLou 9 years ago

I am sure it is in the builders contract that those unforseen items over a certain percentage would not impact the builder . It is a standard thing when building. My builder put it in the contract when he built my house, it makes sense that the school district is liable for this, it's their land and not the fault of the builder it is a money pit.


STANHATHHORN 9 years ago


 I don't mind bitching equally and I will. Answer this question, what do you see wrong with asking  taxpayers for $29 million for school improvements that haven't been defined, let alone advertised for bid? I know you can respond to this question, because it is the very same thing TMH is doing, only of a greater magnitude ($42.5 million). In the private sector  projects are explicitly defined, then competetive bids are solicited. My company has bid on a few (less than $1million) projects that required excavation and foundation work. The owners of the projects always provided soil analysis and foundation engineering recommendations in their request for bid.

For the record I did communicate with the school district before the election regarding their apparent intent to single source the contract to Neenan. Where were you? The bottom line is cost overruns will be rampant when a project hasn't been explicitly defined and competively bid. So, what's the surprise? Again, our award winning local press was silent!!


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