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Work nearing completion on new Science Hill gym

Madison Mathews • May 9, 2012 at 8:24 AM

As the school year begins to wind down, construction at Science Hill High School continues, which has become a source of frustration for school officials.

The Johnson City Board of Education received an update during Monday’s meeting on the construction of the new multipurpose gymnasium.

Supervisor of Instruction and Facilities Dave Chupa told the board Chattanooga’s EMJ Corp. has estimated to be finished with the new facility by the end of May. That’s more than a month later than an estimated completion date of mid- to late March, which was given to school officials in December.

The $23 million construction project included four new buildings: administrative offices, a 9th Grade Academic Building, a dining hall and a multipurpose gymnasium.

With the new gym being the final part of the project, it seems the company is nearing the end, even if fencing still remains around portions of the new facility.

Tommy Burleson, the city’s construction agent, said Tuesday the fire marshal inspected the facility and once a few small details are ironed out, he expects to have a temporary certificate of occupancy from the city by the end of next week.

“That means the building can be used for its intended purpose. It doesn’t mean it’s 100 percent complete, because there’s still a little bit of landscape work, touch-up work and a few little punch list items that have to be done. It’s essentially completed,” Burleson said. “It’s been a long time coming, but we’re almost there.”

Burleson said delays on the project stemmed from problems with subcontractors and weather.

“Two subcontractors got into serious financial trouble. They (EMJ) had to supplement the work force from one and replace the other subcontractor, which always slows down projects. In EMJ’s defense, there was some bad weather during portions of the project, which did delay,” he said.

Burleson said crews are working hard now cleaning and putting the final touches on the security, electrical and painting work that is left.

Since certain deadlines for other portions of the project weren’t met, EMJ faces penalty costs in excess of $40,000. Burleson said the final penalty cost will be calculated based on some other aspects of the contract and a change order that will take care of the overall amount.

While the new facility isn’t likely to be used during the current school year, Burleson said he expects work to be wrapped up within the next two weeks.

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