Contractors scramble to finish VWES

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By Mark Manicone

Van Wyck Elementary School will be complete come hell or high water, as workers put in multiple hours of overtime to get the school ready for the new year.
And it won’t cost the Lancaster County School District an extra dime.
“It’s the contractor’s responsibility to deliver on time,” said LCSD Facilities Director David Small. “And we’re on the back end pushing them to meet schedule. Guys are working around the clock, working on weekends and…the Fourth of July.”
The project is now 85 percent complete, with all the roofing and brickwork completed on the exterior of the building. All the remaining work is on the interior, which is good for work progress because weather will no longer affect construction times.
The VWES project was originally supposed to be completed by June 8, but a shortage of electricians and weather problems pushed the date into the first week of August.
The earliest date the district could start occupying the building is Aug. 2, when the final inspection is scheduled.
Small said there are contractors on the school site all week.
“We got close to 100 folks on site a day, seven days a week. Many are working from sunup to sundown. All the different trades are making a concentrated effort together to get it done,” he said.
Small said that the only contractors who are working multiple shifts are the electricians because the electrical work on the building was way behind schedule. 
“The electricians are further behind, and are pulling more hours than the other contractors,” Small said. “We’ve got two different electrical contractors working on different sides of the building.”
As of Monday, July 9, all the drywall has been installed and most of the ceiling grid is in place. The plumbing has been completed and only bathroom fixtures are left to install. All interior lights have been installed and most of the electrical work has been done.
The new school also passed its third and final overhead inspection last week.
Inspectors made sure that all the the conduit, electrical connections and overhead plumbing was installed correctly, per manufacturers specification. Inspectors also checked all the HVAC ductwork.
“They’re basically checking anything above the ceiling and making sure it’s installed correctly…for the whole building,” Small said.
The final inspection that will allow the district to occupy the building is Aug. 2. In that inspection, the inspectors will test the fire alarm system, run the sprinkler system and check over the building one last time before giving the district a certificate of occupancy.

Follow reporter Mark Manicone on Twitter @mark_manicone or contact him at (803) 283-1152.