Intermediate school project
will be completed by start of school

By ANN RICHARDSON, Staff Writer, Ocean City Gazette
September 1, 2010

OCEAN CITY - They faced relentless heat on a burning hot roof, a tight budget and, with a new school year set to begin on Sept. 9, a very strict timeline. Despite the challenges, school district business administrator Steve Terhune said a small army of hardworking contractors made good on a promise to complete a major renovation project at the Ocean City Intermediate School on time and on budget.

At the Aug. 25 Ocean City school board meeting, Terhune said the school will be ready to open on the first day of class. "I hesitate to say it but we are on schedule and on time even though we still have a couple of hurdles to go," he said. "We should get our temporary CO (Certificate of Occupancy) next week, possibly Friday."

Superintendent Dr. Kathleen Taylor said the school was in "great shape." "Thanks to the guidance and leadership of the construction manager, the school is ready to open for business," she said, crediting Brian Moore, construction manager for Epic Management, Inc. of Piscataway. Bells would be ringing, she said, as the $7,311,746 million project comes to a conclusion this month.

Work continues on the project, which includes a new roof and HVAC system - replacing an inefficient electric system with a modern, efficient gas system - and an updated front entrance to the school.

"A lot is still happening," Terhune said. The school was built in 1965. An addition was built in the 1990's. The board approved an $110,064 change order that Terhune said was "unforeseeable."

"It's the first change order on the project," he said. "When you do renovations you get behind the walls and fi nd things that don't meet code. We knew we had some issues that were not up to current fi re code but until we got the ceilings down we didn't know what it would cost to bring them up to code." The "largest item" was the ceiling in the kitchen, he said. "The kitchen hood did not comply with fire code and we needed to bring it up to code," he said, adding that crews had pulled down the old hood and replaced it with a new one. The cost was more than $60,000, about 60 percent of the change order in one item, he said. Door frames, he said, were not up to present fire rating codes and needed to be replaced.

"These are unforeseeable," he said, adding that a few more might arise in September.

Sporting a shiny new red metal roof, the "A-frame" at the front of the school looks great, he said, but unfortunately taking the old roof in that area off uncovered areas in need of repair.

"We had to make it safe," he said. Terhune said the change orders did not result in any increase in the cost of the project because the district was required to put five percent of the cost of the project aside for such circumstances. "That's required by the state, we've used about two percent with this change order, so we're in good shape," he said.

Board member Lloyd Hayes, who serves on the board's buildings and grounds committee, said he was honored to have been given a "guided tour" of the facility. He said the serendipitous tour was offered by Moore after Lloyd arrived at the wrong time for a meeting and found no one around. "The construction manager said he wanted to show me, he's proud of everything they've done," he said, adding that the building looks beautiful.

Rooms are being cleaned this week and other than a few missing interior doors, Lloyd said everything is great. "They're doing a nice job," he said. On average, 40 roofers worked on the new roof each day throughout the summer. Working with burning hot tar and heavy roofing materials, under insufferable conditions, they got the job done.

Altogether, 80 unionized employees got the job done on any given day. TN Ward Company of Atlantic City is the general contractor. Work on the project started in the spring, before school let out. During the evenings, crews began taking ceiling tiles down and preparing for the second phase, which began in earnest as the school buses departed on the last day of school, June 18.

Moore promised workers would go into overdrive. "Our goal is to be complete by the time school starts," Moore told the Gazette in early July. "We're working 10 hour days six days a week to make sure that happens. Any work that is not completed will be done after school; we'll go to the second shift."

Some work remains, Terhune said, but the remaining tasks would not compromise or impede student learning.

Terhune said what normally occurs in a school building from the last day of one year and the beginning of the next about ten weeks later would be done in an extremely "compressed" time period. "You have summer cleaning and organizing, we have to bring the front office back," he said. "We have two and half months compacted into about a week or ten days." Terhune said an extremely dry summer, albeit hot, assisted work crews in a timely completion.


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