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School construction to be complete in 2009

Only a few months ago, it looked like any other open field. But where grass once grew, the foundations of the new Ironton elementary and middle schools are starting to take shape.

Demolition work is also continuing at the high school in preparing there for the construction of the new facility there.

Growing a school building

Before rain and snow set in last week, some 25-30 workers set about pouring concrete and installing reinforcing bars for the new elementary and middle schools.

“Ninety percent of the footers for the educational space is done,” superintendent Dean Nance said. “We still have to pour the footers for the two gyms and the cafeteria. We’re getting the whole building out of the ground and the blocks up to floor level.”

The electricity and other utilities are already underground and ready for hookup once the buildings are under roof.

Once the work progresses, the work crew will expand to include some 60 masons who will fashion brick and block into walls. When will that be?

“It depends on the weather,” said J.C. Farmer, elementary/ middle school site supervisor. “If the weather holds up we can start on the walls in about a month. By March, you’ll see a big difference.

“We’re on schedule,” Nance added. “Considering the time of the year, we’re probably ahead of schedule.”

Ground was broken on the new elementary/middle schools in late November.

J&H Reinforcing and Structural Erectors, of Portsmouth, is the general contractor for the project.

Coming down

High school students may not be educated within those old brick walls many generations before them loved and learned in, but those old brick walls will still contribute to their education, if only in a subterranean way. Some of the old bricks and concrete are being ground up and used as filler for the foundation. Since the old building was constructed in a sand lot, some of that sand— approximately 10 feet of it— will be dug out and replaced with the crushed bricks and concrete for added stability.

The high school is right now in the demolition phase. J&H is also the contractor for the demolition project. Most of the Heplar Street wing has been taken down. The old gymnasium and outbuildings have already been demolished. The front entrance will be saved and the new building fashioned around it.

Electricity and other utility have already been installed underground at the high school.

Money

Nance pointed out that the workers are paying the city’s payroll tax, meaning additional dollars for city coffers.

Getting it done

The entire $48 million school construction project is scheduled to be completed by 2009.