GREENVILLE — As construction workers begin the battle against freezing temperatures, high winds and several inches of fresh snow, progress on the new Legacy Field football stadium at Greenville High School is continuing.
Superintendent Pete Haines said all work on the new stadium is on schedule and crews have yet to have to use any “weather days,” taking time off due to weather conditions thanks to a mild start to the winter season.
“We made assumptions that we would be dealing with a typical winter, but this has not been a typical winter,” Haines said. “We’re real hesitant to use the words ‘ahead of schedule,’ but things have gone very well thus far.”
Marty Schultz, project manager from Clark Construction Co., said crews have “gotten more work done than anticipated,” but said the potential for poor weather conditions in the spring will keep workers busy throughout the winter.
“The weather that we’ve had has helped tremendously,” Schultz said. “We are now 90 percent done with the retaining walls that outline the stadium and 50 percent done with the masonry walls for the north athletic building.”
Schultz said everything has been done according to budget, using “very little contingency” from funds.
“We’ve had to do a lot of revisions to stay on budget, making sure we’re not overdesigning, but it will come in on budget,” he said.
Schultz said the ability to spread out bids over several months on various portions of construction has helped save money, as opposed to bidding out all construction to a single company.
“We’ve really phased this project, 11 different bids went out,” he said. “Typically we’d give the bids all out at once. It has been pretty intense for us, but it has helped the school get done sooner instead of later, taking care of the bond money sooner than in most situations.”
As work continues on the stadium, preparation for work on the high school cafeteria and a new commons area is in its final stages of design.
“Work is just about ready to go out to bid for the cafeteria remodeling and commons area,” Haines said. “We’re going to begin some work in the spring, during the students’ spring break week, but we will hold off on major construction until students are dismissed for the summer.”
Haines said the cafeteria and commons area is one of the most important parts of the bond project.
“The changes at the high school, in terms of the food service, it’s going to be dramatically different,” he said. “How we serve, what we serve, where we serve — it really is intended to make it a really appealing location.”
Haines said the existing cafeteria will see significant remodeling of the kitchen and serving area and provide more seating for students.
“We can offer a broader, healthier, more appealing menu,” he said. “The current cafeteria seats about 300 students but capacity will be expanded to about 550 to 575.”
Haines said the indoor commons area, which will be built across from the cafeteria in an outdoor courtyard, will provide students with an area to eat during lunch, but also to study and gather after school with the ability to use wireless Internet.
“We’re hoping to open (the commons area) after school,” he said. “It could be such a great place for kids to hang out and do homework.”
Haines said the transformation from outdoor courtyard to indoor commons area was a “real economical way to add seating for our lunch period.”
“We’re just adding a floor and roof,” he said. “We already have the luxury of four walls. It won’t take much to furnish it, put tables in there and have it ready for the students.”
Among other projects related to the $14.57 million bond project is enhanced security at every school in the district.
“Safety and security was one of the major drives in this bond project,” Haines said. “Lobby work will be done at some of our elementary schools, as well as work on the entrances to the middle school, all to enhance school security.
Schultz said new cameras and monitors will be installed at all of the schools this summer.
“We have a lot of work to do outside of the football stadium,” he said. “The stadium has a lot of time left to complete it. It’s work on the security upgrades, cafeteria and other remaining projects that will really push us into overdrive once work starts in full this summer.”
Both Haines and Schultz said all construction will be completed before the 2011-2012 school year begins.
“We fully expect to everything to be open in the fall,” Haines said. “The cafeteria and commons area will be the most aggressive push on any of the projects, but it will be a tremendous addition to the school once it is all completed.”