Harrisburg Middle School: An Expansion in a Thriving Community
- Written by: Harrisburg Middle School: An Expansion in a Thriving Community
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- Estimated reading time: 4 mins
Harrisburg, S.D., is home to a fast-growing community. The once large, quiet plot of land off of Western Avenue is now ringing with the buzz of saws and construction workers, as two new schools are in the process of competition to make room for the growing influx of students in the area.
One of the two new facilities is Harrisburg Middle School, which is taking shape through the expert project management team at Peska Construction Inc. (Peska). “There’s a lot going on around here,” shares Brian Limoges, project manager for Peska. “We actually have two contracts in the works on this one site.”
The other contract Limoges refers to is the development of a $1 million bus garage situated next to the new school. A venture combining the bus garage with the $16 million middle school, the project is no small effort; however, the task is nothing Peska isn’t experienced in handling.
Peska has served the Midwest region since 1974, promising better buildings and better relationships for over 39 years. The Sioux Falls, S.D.-based general contractor is no stranger to large-scale educational endeavors, and the team knows how to bring a job in on time and on budget. Peska broke ground on the middle school site in July 2012. Partnering with the local school district, Peska’s promised to have the building ready in time for the August 2013 academic year.
Making Room for More Students
While Limoges’ crew at Peska directs progress at the middle school, Golden Rule Construction is well underway at the newest elementary building right next door. “It’s going to be convenient having these two schools next to each other,” explains Jim Holbeck, Harrisburg School District superintendent. “There are some shared things they can team up and do together. The elementary and middle schools will be able to use each other’s facilities; in that way, it’s going to be a nice change.”
Aside from the basic conveniences for faculty, students and parents having the two buildings close by, the buildings will support an overwhelming increase in enrollment. In November 2012, the district asked voters to pass a $38 million bond to start new construction in the rapidly growing area. “We’ve got to have more room for all of the kids who are showing up,” stresses Holbeck. “Right now we have two schools that are simple overflowing; there’s no doubt we need both desperately.”
The K-5 elementary school will hold a capacity of 550 students, while the sixth through eighth grade middle school will allow for 800. The operations are set to be up and running by the end of August 2013; just in time for school supplies, new friends, faces and all of the excitement that a fresh school year brings. This is all thanks to Peska and the other construction crews’ relentless labor.
Readying for August
So far, thanks to a hot, dry summer and efficient scheduling, Limoges’ crews are ahead of schedule. “The structural steel is going up, bar joist decking, plumbing, electrical, utilities; it’s all going pretty good,” he admits. “The site consists of a brand-new, 140,000-square-foot middle school, plus a track facility, gymnasium, auditorium, classrooms, administrative offices, concession buildings for sporting events and, of course, the bus garage.”
With an accelerated schedule, Peska had to manage the job as efficiently as possible if it was going to complete by the school district’s expected date. “We didn’t start until July and knew that before winter arrived the building needed to be enclosed,” shares Limoges. “By fall, we actually had about 90 percent of the structure locked in. We were lucky we had a cool, dry fall without a lot of moisture.”
Limoges had to manage the operation and organize which aspects of the project could be completed now, and what needed to be saved for a later date. “There are three wings on the south end, which are all identical,” he describes. “We knew we needed to complete the CMU walls and exterior steel stud first and that the precast construction could wait. The precast part was purposely put off, because it could be done in cooler temperatures.”
Part of executing a job of this magnitude is complete communication. “We’ve been holding weekly meetings with the subcontractors to make sure everyone is on the same page,” details Limoges. “Normally you’d meet with architects and engineers once a month, but on a job this size we thought it was best to sit down once every two weeks.”
Although the school district didn’t shoot for LEED certification, Peska has taken recycling into its own hands. “We try to reuse and recycle as much as we can as possible; [this includes] everything from cardboard to wood and steel,” adds Limoges.
After 39 years in business, Peska has a true understanding of how to bring a project on a tight schedule in on time, especially when dealing with a school calendar. Limoges and his team have made the project a success by applying industry-leading experience and communication. Peska Construction Inc. will be there the day the new Harrisburg Middle School opens to accommodate students in a comfortable environment.
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