COLUMBIA — Construction at Battle High School is proceeding on time if not ahead of schedule due to good weather, Columbia Public Schools spokeswoman Michelle Baumstark said.
Deputy Superintendent Nick Boren said progress was proceeding at a "pretty brisk pace" because mild winter weather has allowed outside work on projects that would normally have needed to wait.
Boren said that so far, the project is at "63 to 64 percent" completion and that the site has averaged 130-140 workers each day.
He said that construction was "well within" the $75 million budget and that it would probably finish at or under budget.
The total budget includes contingency money, which would be used for problems that come up during construction. Boren said that as construction moves forward smoothly, the district may feel more comfortable using contingency money.
Other factors contributing to keeping the project on budget include having effective project management and oversight and working closely with contractors, Boren said. He also said using a local architect, DLR Group in partnership with Simon Oswald Architecture, has helped make the process more efficient.
The main structure, steel structure and roofs have all been completed, and the interior walls are "probably 98 percent complete," he said.
He also said:
- Mechanical systems for the entire school are 80 percent complete.
- Major systems in the auditorium and gymnasium have been installed and are going through startups.
- The offsite construction at St. Charles Road, Battle Avenue and Spartan Way has been completed, Boren said. Other completed roadwork includes the installation of a four-way stop and turn lanes.
- The baseball and softball fields have been completed, as well as the practice field for both. The practice football field is also done.
Ongoing and future construction include finishing the block and working on infrastructure. Projects include installing alarm and phone systems, painting and installing flooring and carpet.
Outdoor projects include installing the football turf and parking lots. Boren said these would be completed closer to the school’s opening in fall 2013.
"It really is starting to look like a high school," Baumstark said.
Kim Presko, who will be principal of Battle when it opens, said she saw the high school in mid-November and mid-December and thought construction was making tremendous progress.
"It's pretty incredible to see the magnitude of that building," she said.
Boren said that the goal is to move in Battle leadership January next year and that everything was on track to be open early if not on time.
Presko said she is focusing on getting equipment and personnel in place as construction progresses. Several hires were recently announced, and she said she plans to have more staff postings soon and may announce curriculum leaders in the next two to three weeks.