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School construction delays

Construction continues Tuesday, aug. 15, outside an entrance to the Waupaca Learning Center. James Card Photo

Waupaca projects still unfinished

By Robert Cloud

Consulting engineer Bob Breest updated the Waupaca School Board at its Aug. 8 meeting on this summer’s construction projects.

Not all of the projects will be completed in time for the start of school on Sept. 1.

To enhance security, all four Waupaca school buildings are being upgraded to create a single point of entry.

Voters passed a referendum in November 2022 allowing the district to borrow $3.87 million for the construction.

“It’s been a very busy summer,” Breest told the board. “It’s going to continue to be busy for the next couple weeks and beyond at the learning center. We’ve got five projects going on at four buildings.”

Breest said the asphalt has been laid for the high school parking lot and stripes will be painted before the end of August. He noted that the parking lot is now functional, although stop signs and disabled parking signs are still needed.

“Having people learn how to use the new parking lot is going to be the biggest challenge,” Breest said, noting that what had been the student parking lot on the north side has been decommissioned and the parking lot in the front of the building has a new layout.

While the high school’s front entrance will be completed by the time school starts, the additional security measures will not be completed.

“The door frames will be in,” Breest said. “The wood doors are not going to be here until mid-October.”

The projects have struggled with supply chain issues.

Breest also noted delays at the Chain Exploration Center.

While the Chain was the smallest of this summer’s projects, it proved to be the most challenging administratively, Breest said.

The CEC building was constructed under a different set of codes.

“We had to get a variance to get a permit,” Breest said, which led to a late start.

During construction at the Chain, contractors had to upgrade the plumbing for the entire building, which was not in the original plan.

Breest estimated the plumbing would add about $10,000 to the cost. However, bids came in at 10% under budget, so the project will not exceed its budget.

At Waupaca Middle School, “offices will be operational in time for school to start,” Breest said.

However, two wooden doors that are part of the security upgrades at WMS will also not be ready until October.

Work at Waupaca Learning Center has also experienced some setbacks.

“We’ve had a couple little issues here,” Breest said. “Original plans showed the foundations a certain way, gas lines a certain way, and when we started opening things up, guess what, they aren’t.”
Contractors had to relocate the gasline and the footings, which caused significant delays in the project.

“It will drag out into the beginning of next year for the learning center,” Breest said.

“That school will not be done until after January?” board member Steve Klismet asked.

“Correct,” Breest replied.

WLC will be operational when school starts and the project will stay on budget.

To keep children safe, a 6-foot chain fence will be installed around the work zone outside the building and a plywood wall will be erected inside the building, Breest said.

WLC Principal John Erspamer told the board that information has been sent to families regarding how students will need to enter the building while construction continues.

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