The Gulf County School Board last week approved extending the deadline for completion of construction work to the kitchen and cafeteria at Port St. Joe Elementary School.


The Gulf County School Board last week approved extending the deadline for completion of construction work to the kitchen and cafeteria at Port St. Joe Elementary School.



The work was originally to be completed no later than Jan. 30, 2013, under the original construction manager agreement between the district and Ajax Building Corp., which won the bid to manage work to the elementary school and Port St. Joe High School.



The work at the high school, which included a complete overhaul of the boys’ locker room, bathrooms and coaches’ offices, is nearing completion on time.



However, the district and Ajax agreed on an extension on the work at the elementary school “to allow for incorporation of numerous changes, adjustments and/or clarifications in the design” and existing scope of the work “due in part to unanticipated conditions” combined with the budgetary constraints of the project.



Among those unforeseen circumstances were non-reinforced walls and other construction characteristics in the 1970s era building that required altering how some portions of the project were undertaken.



For example, due to the issue with the walls – some of the concrete walls had not been filled in or reinforced – contractors had to move entire stainless steel countertops and equipment foundations as one unit, a far more delicate operation, said architect Bayne Collins.



The deadline for Substantial Completion is now March 15, 2013 with Final Completion by April 15.



The projects at the two schools were effectively paid for by savings realized on a roofing project at Wewahitchka Elementary School.



The district asked, and the state agreed, to allow the district to use some $900,000 in savings to pay for the work at the two Port St. Joe schools. Additional dollars came from the district’s Local Capital Improvement funds.



Since the opening of school in the fall the elementary school has served meals by employing several measures while construction, which began in the summer, continued.



The school gymnasium was divided in half, with one half used for children as a makeshift cafeteria.



Once work began on the kitchen, the district brought in a temporary kitchen at substantial cost to provide a method of cooking meals. The district leased the kitchen and it will be returned when the construction is complete.



March 15 is the day on which the kitchen will be back in action with the expected arrival of students into the newly-refurbished cafeteria – all but complete save some window replacement – by April 15.