Wellington Superintendent Weiss answers questions on construction, school delay decision

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Thank you for your input. -12 Vote up Vote down bubba · 260 weeks ago Cause mr weiss needs to retire, why did you wait to start constrution so late, and why didnt contractors work longer hours. Because there mindless people running our school board. Lets sell the old high school for nothing and then talk about renting it out. Yay wellington Report Reply 0 replies · active 260 weeks ago -2 Vote up Vote down why? · 260 weeks ago I still wonder why we are sinking so much money into Washington school. It is clearly a money pit and unnecessary! In 10 years as our population continues to decline, are we going to sell Washington for next to nothing after sinking a ton of money into it? Report Reply 0 replies · active 260 weeks ago -7 Vote up Vote down JustMe · 260 weeks ago Weiss said “….they are working for the same clients we are — our children.” Sorry, but you’re wrong. You work for the PARENTS of those children. Report Reply 0 replies · active 260 weeks ago +14 Vote up Vote down momofkids · 260 weeks ago Good Grief people, the lesson to be learned here, is that in life, some things throw us off schedule and it is more about how we handle those situations than the schedule itself. Life is short, enjoy an extra week or two of summer, I am sure that our kids will get the same amount of education this school year as they would starting on 08/18/2015. If you want to throw a fit about something, how about addressing the cuts that Sam Brownback has left us to deal with. At least make it something that matters. Report Reply 1 reply · active 260 weeks ago +12 Vote up Vote down fsdf · 260 weeks ago Could not have said it better. It seems like parents are not wanting their kids home a week or two longer. Enjoy these times with your kids. They won’t be kids long and be thankful that they are not be sent to school with the conditions that buildijng is in now and even other conditions that the schools could be in. Report Reply 0 Vote up Vote down MaryAnn Hennig · 259 weeks ago It was too early to start school in the first place! Report Reply 0 replies · active 259 weeks ago Post a new comment Enter text right here! Comment as a Guest, or login: Login to IntenseDebate Login to WordPress.com Login to Twitter Go back Tweet this comment Connected as (Logout) Email (optional) Not displayed publicly. Name Email Website (optional) Displayed next to your comments. Not displayed publicly. If you have a website, link to it here. Posting anonymously. Tweet this comment Submit Comment Subscribe to None Replies All new comments Comments by IntenseDebate Enter text right here! Reply as a Guest, or login: Login to IntenseDebate Login to WordPress.com Login to Twitter Go back Tweet this comment Connected as (Logout) Email (optional) Not displayed publicly. Name Email Website (optional) Displayed next to your comments. Not displayed publicly. If you have a website, link to it here. Posting anonymously. Tweet this comment Cancel Submit Comment Subscribe to None Replies All new comments Washington Elementary multipurpose room as it looked on Monday.by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — The Monday deadline had arrived. While USD 353 administrators and teachers were busy preparing for the first day of class, originally scheduled for Tuesday, August 18, Washington Elementary looked like a war zone.It has been the summer of construction at USD 353 as upgrades are being made throughout the school district from the Security and Safety plan approved by voters in 2014.While there is ongoing construction at the three other elementary schools — Eisenhower, Lincoln, and Kennedy— none of them were having the issues that Washington was having at 1100 N. Washington.The issues at Washington were more pronounced because it is an older building. This summer, it was determined that the HVAC unit needed to be moved from the ceiling to the floor because the roof could no longer sustain the weight of the unit. The Wellington school board made two change orders including redoing the duct work. As a result, Washington was much further behind than the other schools in the construction process.On Monday, the school was far for inhabitable for school business. There was pink insulation littered in the multi-purpose cafeteria room. Books, furniture and school supplies were stacked high in available rooms in the hallways. Dust covered the landscape and fiberglass was in carpet. Washington Elementary teachers were sweltering in the August heat with no air conditioning on the horizon.It became obvious to anyone who stepped foot in the elementary school, that this school would not be ready.A school administrator’s meeting was held Monday around noon at the USD 353 and Wellington Superintendent Rick Weiss issued a press release shortly thereafter that the start of school at all USD 353 would be delayed a week.There have been several questions by the public at large especially about the late notice of the change, why the school administration decided to include the whole school instead of just Washington, and how the missed week will be made up.Sumner Newscow submitted 12 questions to Weiss via e-mail. His answers are featured below:1. Why was the whole school district called off instead of just Washington Elementary? Weiss — The Kansas State Department of Education allows two choices to schedule a school year — either attend 180 days or log 1,116 contact hours between teachers and students. Since USD 353 has 177 days in the negotiated agreement with the teachers that eliminates the 180 days so we have the hourly option.From that, KSDE requires the building with the least amount of hours logged as the official count of the district. Therefore we live with the lowest hour. Also, there were minor issues at Kennedy and Eisenhower that the extra time will help and there were items at Lincoln that needed addressed. It is anticipated this week will help complete all of those details and get everyone started together.2. How are you making up for the lost hours this week? Weiss — Yes, time adjustments are being considered to help make up for lost time. It will not require any changes in the times students get to school. Just an adjustment as to what time school/classes begins and ends. We are making it as painless as we can make it. Depending on the winter there are days later on that we can make up if necessary. If we can get back on Monday the return to normalcy should be sooner than later.3. Why did you wait until Monday to make this decision?  Weiss — We were assured by the WHH Construction (the contractor) Superintendent that all work would be completed and that school would be in session by Tuesday, August 18. It was decided to allow them that opportunity. The walk through was scheduled for Monday afternoon. That is when we would make that decision.4. Are there two sets of construction workers for this project? Weiss — Walz, Harmon and Huffman is the general contractor. They have many subcontractors working with HVAC, roofing, electrical, plumbing, etc.5. Some are questioning the timing of the construction. Why so close to school? Weiss — It was started after the 2014-15 school year ended in late May. There was some delay with the asbestos removal contract, but it was continually assured that things would be ready by August 18.6. The delay at Washington was two change orders. Can you explain what these change orders were and how did it delay the process? Weiss — Change orders were with the HVAC in bringing rooftop units to the ground as that was better for the support mechanism on the roof. That required more duct work and other electrical work.7. Will the construction workers be penalized for not making deadline? Weiss — At the end of the project there is a sum of money that will be held until all of the project is accepted by the board. The possibility exists of liquidated damages but at this time those issues will be decided at a later date.8. What will happen if Washington Elementary is still not ready in a week? Weiss — Once again, assurances have been made that building will be ready but contingency plays are being made if it isn’t. Those plans have not been finalized as of Tuesday, the 18th.9. What still needs to be done for Washington to be safe enough to return to school? Weiss — Insulation needs to be put back above the ceiling. HVAC, ductwork and electric work need completed. We also need a very good and thorough cleaning. That will begin to be addressed by bringing a professional cleaner in at the contractor’s expense.10. What about Lincoln? There were rumors that Lincoln Elementary was not ready either? Weiss — Lincoln needs finishing work in the office area, some electrical work in the office area and a cleaning everywhere. There has been construction and dust remains. That will also be addressed with the professional cleaner.11. Do you anticipate other delays as construction continues throughout the year? Weiss — We certainly hope not, but that depends on the weather and other unforeseen circumstances at this point.12. Mayor Shelley Hansel said the city inspector was not going to issue a certificate of occupancy at the end of the day on Monday. Was that part of the decision making process? Weiss — We certainly appreciate the help of the mayor and the City Building Inspector as they are working for the same clients we are — our children. Our decision was made at the end of last week on how we would proceed if the buildings were not ready. We were assured they would be and decided to give them to that point in time the opportunity to make that happen. So the answer is no but with the building inspector being the deciding factor, we will rely on his professional judgment if further delays are necessary. The contractor should be well aware of what the city building inspector requires for the building to be occupied.Follow us on Twitter.last_img

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