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School’s frame begins to rise at Kingston High

KINGSTON — At the construction site of Kingston High School, tire tracks are collecting standing water, as are storm-water detention ponds. One step off the access rock road and one’s foot is liable to sink into the very soggy ground.

The good news is, crews are working above it all, for the most part, while erecting the steel which will serve as the skeleton of the school. Even so, the winter weather has been a thorn in the side, rather the bottom, of the district-contractor Wick Constructors’ progress, said NKSD capital facilities director Robin Shoemaker.

“There are a number of temporary erosion-control and sediment-control measures that they’ve had to put in place,” Shoemaker said. “The site management is tough because of the concentrated rainfall, but we’re working through it. It just happens to be a tough period.”

Following a 10-day dry spell in the middle of November of 2005, December 2005 was wetter than usual for Western Washington and made things mucky in Kingston.

But as groundwork at the site ceased early in the month, construction shifted focus primarily to setting up the school’s steel frame and finalizing masonry on the gym, Shoemaker said. She added that all the while the crews have been hindered by site management.

The rainfall — including the 19-day precipitation streak as of Jan. 6 — is designed to be channeled into a few stormwater detention ponds at the site. KHS’s master plan called for four detention ponds throughout the plot to help quell the problems a wet winter would bring. During early site work, only two were completed, with the largest on the north end of the property, the only one in its permanent location.

“All the detention facilities are not in, and they weren’t required to be,” Shoemaker said. She added that it was an option for the contractors, but early site-work had consumed fall work. “It’s understandable why they would’ve concentrated resources there; it’s their means and methods of managing the site.”

Recent means of controlling water on site have been concentrated on breaches in designed water pathways along with utilizing pumps to ensure detention ponds do not overflow. The latter of which has also created some problems at the site.

Shoemaker said there have been some instances of short-time power outages that have caused pumps to shut down.

“They are dealing with it,” Shoemaker said of how the contractors were handling the problems — Wick officials declined additional comment.

Trucks are able to traverse the site via a quarry-spall road, which runs from the entrance to the north perimeter of the site and along the south side of the northern school building allowing access to both buildings as well as a space for a crane.

Steel erection on the school building began Dec. 19 and will remain the project’s primary focus until April, Shoemaker said. Percentages of completion for the buildings will not be available until later this month.

“They won’t start up any site work, other than what’s absolutely necessary to support the building, until April,” she added.

When site work restarts, Shoemaker said final gradings and placement of grass cover and cement will be what is needed, along with the implementation of the remaining detention ponds.

“Generally, this job is going well, facing some of the challenges a project of this size does; the biggest challenge has been all the water,” she said. “I don’t see anything troubling right now, I’d just like to see us get through this rainy period.”

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