Construction begins on new school

District prepares for coming year

DEL NORTE— Crews have started the groundwork for the new school in Del Norte and are working to have the area ready for the first phase of concrete that is scheduled to begin by late November/early December. “The contractors started groundwork just a few weeks ago, and I think the community can now see how big this building is really going to be. This first phase will put everything into perspective. We are all very excited to see the project actually get underway,” said Del Norte Superintendent Chris Burr.
Once the ground is leveled and shaped the way it needs to be, the next phase will be done in sections as crews prepare to lay the foundation of the school and begin the underground work for places like the kitchen and auditorium. “They have to slope the floor in the auditorium and do underground electrical, plumbing and other work before laying the concrete and the plan is to have it ready by late fall, early winter,” explained Burr.
Burr continued, stating that once the school board received the bids from the first bid pack, they were pleasantly surprised to see it come in significantly under budget. “The fact that Saguache is also building a school has been a huge advantage for both districts. Building material is priced cheaper and our bids are coming in very competitive. I think both districts are benefitting immensely from doing the projects at the same time.”
The first phase of the project will focus on the center of the building and work outward from there. “The center portion of the building is heavier and requires heavy duty pylons to support the weight of the building. The construction has been broken down into six sections, beginning with the center of the building and working out. The foundations should be finished within about six weeks,” explained Burr.
With construction underway, school officials are ready to focus their attention on the coming school year. “We are working to move the administration offices into the small gym next to the Mesa building and will be signing the title of the Mesa building over to Head Start so that they can begin their project. Students kindergarten through sixth grade have been moved into the middle school building and we moved seventh and eighth into the high school. It will be a bit cramped this year, but the good news is we move into our new school in a year and a half,” said Burr.
He also stated that negotiations with the Town of Del Norte are going well in preparation for the water and street extension project. “The town has been very supportive of our efforts and are working on grant funding for the project.”
Burr stated that all of the buildings, minus the old middle school building, have new owners. “We are just waiting on a final land survey for the middle school and high school before signing over titles to the Forest Service and High Valley Community Center. We are so fortunate to be able to repurpose all of our buildings,” said Burr.

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