Indian Trail expansion work still not finished

Nathan Baker • Nov 5, 2013 at 11:17 AM

Dave Chupa, Johnson City Schools’ supervisor of instruction and facilities, told the Board of Education on Monday that Indian Trail Intermediate School is still waiting for some parts of the school’s $1.4 million expansion project to be completed three months after classes resumed.

Chupa, speaking during the board’s regular monthly meeting, said the eight classrooms added to the school to accommodate its switch from a middle school to an intermediate school are now waiting for their third set of windows to be placed, and administrators hope telephones will be installed soon.

“The first set of windows they put in were temporary windows, and then they came in and did measurements,” Chupa said. “When they did the measurements, somebody missed on the measurements.”

The 4-inch gap left between the bottoms of the windows and the exterior accent bricks isn’t noticeable from inside the classrooms, and doesn’t let air into the classes, but Chupa said “architecturally, it looks bad.”

Those rooms should have correctly sized windows by either Thanksgiving or Christmas, he said.

Another still-undone item left from the contractor’s list is installing telephones in those rooms.

Chupa said teachers in those rooms are using cellphones provided by the school system to communicate with Indian Trail’s main office, but said it’s not the ideal situation.

“The biggest downside is you have to keep them on all the time, and instead of a secretary screening it, it’s just going to ring in automatically, so it can be disruptive to the classes,” Chupa said.

Indian Trail Principal Dave Peccia said the delays haven’t affected the eight classes much.

“We’ve adapted,” he said. “We’ve taken the necessary measures by allowing those teachers to have their cellphones.”

Peccia said safety systems, like fire alarms and sprinkler systems, were functioning in the new rooms before classes started in August.

Peccia said he expects the contractor to notify him before work begins on the windows to allow the school to plan a schedule that will minimize disruptions to the classes.

“When we were doing the main construction, they worked around the needs of our kids and teachers,” he said. “The main thing is to limit the impact on instruction, and they’ve been really good to not take away from that valuable instructional time.”

Although not completely finished, the principal said the teachers are thankful for the expanded space.

Chupa said he intends to keep the school board abreast of the situation and will notify its members when the finishing touches are beginning.

In the meantime, the school district is holding a retainage, or withholding a portion of the agreed upon price, until construction is complete.

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