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Superintendent says construction will be on time for school's start

Pequot Lakes School Superintendent Chris Lindholm said the district’s architect and project manager have said construction at the school is in better shape this year than last.

“I’ve been a part of other construction projects, and it always comes down to the wire,” Lindholm said, “because you’re packing a half a year of construction into three months.”

The school board heard an update on construction from its project manager, Tim Robertson of ICS Consulting, at the board’s regular meeting Monday, Aug. 19.

Friday, Aug. 23, is technically the last day of construction, Robertson said, adding he believed that date would be met.

Robertson said there would be a slight delay on the middle level locker rooms. He said crews are working seven days a week.

Lindholm explained that the open house for the project was delayed until after the start of school to give teachers the time to get their classrooms ready. He said to have everything ready for an open house before school starts would put teachers in a difficult position.

The middle level and high school open house will be from 4:30-8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 11. The school will also hold a dedication ceremony as well as tours at a free-admission volleyball game Thursday, Sept. 12. On Friday, Sept. 13, admission to the football game will be free and tours will be offered.

Lindholm said several inspections were scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 22. He hoped teachers could be in the school Friday, Aug. 23.

In other construction news, the school board decided it will install new bleachers on the football field. The board said bleachers were on a list of “wants,” and the board has been looking into bleachers for a while.

“We have contingency money still set aside,” board chair Valarie Wallin said. “It doesn’t look like we’re going to need to spend in areas we thought we would.”

Some of that money will go to the bleachers.

“Over the last five years, when we passed the bond, there was a fairly long list of items that were sidelined,” board member Kim Bolz-Andolshek said.

Though the board did not name an exact cost for the bleachers, Lindholm said after the meeting that the bleachers would not exceed $200,000, and he expected them to be within a range of $150,000-$180,000.

The plan, though the board said it was in early stages, is to add on to the existing bleachers, bringing the seating capacity from 500 to 1,000. They’ll remain on the same side of the field as they are currently, and no bleachers will be installed on the opposite side of the field because of lack of space.

As for installation of the bleachers, the board said it may not be possible to install the bleachers for this season.

“If we can’t get them in without totally disrupting the season, they’ll go in after. It could be next year,” Bolz-Andolshek said.

The bleachers will take six to seven weeks from fabrication to install, Robertson said, though the board said that in order to have the bleachers engineered, it needed board approval.

The board approved the bleacher purchase unanimously, which will allow solid plans to take form.