FONDA - The Fonda-Fultonville Central School District is repairing the elementary school this summer, replacing the foundation and rebuilding the floors in two sections of the school.
Donald Moshier, field representative of Bernier, Carr & Associates, the architects and engineers working on the project, said the construction is two weeks ahead of schedule.
Employees from Hoosick Valley Contractors are ripping up the old floor and laying a new floor.
Construction workers from Hoosick Valley Contractors rebuild walls at Fonda-Fultonville Central School.
The Leader-Herald/ By Arthur Cleveland
The old shale foundation is brought out of the school’s elementary wing
The Leader-Herald/By Arthur Cleveland
Don Moshier of Bernier, Carr & Associates discusses the repairs with District Treasurer Carey Shultz.
The Leader-Herald/By Arthur Cleveland
Empty shelves and cabinets line the walls of Fonda-Fultonville Central School as the foundation and floors of the elementary school are replaced this summer.
The Leader-Herald/Arthur Cleveland
"The concrete foundation walls are OK; it's the floor slab," Moshier said.
The school, built in the early 2000s, had multiple problems from the original construction, said Carey Shultz, district treasurer for the Fonda-Fultonville Central School District. Because of this, several repairs have been made and are planned.
The first phase of the foundation repair project began in 2005. The second of three phrases is being done this summer. The third and final phase will take place in two or three years.
Shultz said crews are working quickly to get done before the new school year begins.
Patrick Michel, the superintendent of the Hamilton-Fulton-Montgomery Board of Cooperative Educational Services who temporarily is serving as the Fonda-Fultonville district superintendent, said he had seen the floors and foundation before the repairs.
"Right before they tore the floors up, I had a tour of the place," Michel said. "One part of the cement floor had a crack all the way through, and one part was higher than the other."
The school district reached a settlement with the original contractors, which are paying $3.25 million for the three phases of repairs.
The repairs for phase two will cost about $900,000. More than 15 classrooms are having their floors ripped up.
The damage to the school was caused by what Michel called a poor quality fill. The original construction company laid the foundation with concrete walls and a shale floor.
"Shale is not a good material if it gets wet and starts to swell," Moshier said.
According to Hoosick Valley Contractors Project Manager John Bartis, the shale expanded as it settled, cracking the floors and raising a section of the floor. Moshier said the shale got wet from ground moisture.
"With the concrete floors not having any fiber mesh for reinforcing, it only takes about 12 pounds per square foot of pressure to cause it to crack," Moshier said.
Area C, which is in the elementary wing, already has the the concrete floor poured, and workers are installing metal stud partitions that support the new walls. An exterior window and portions of a wall also were taken out so excavators could move in and out easily.
Bartis said the hot, dry weather has affected the construction. His crews have been spraying water on the new foundation to help pack and settle it.
"We should have everything done 100 percent, except the floor tile," Moshier said, "and the only reason for that is we are waiting on the curing time on the concrete so the adhesives that are used to adhere the tiles will be more compatible to the floor."
The foundations will be laid by the start of the school year, and crews will work on them during school breaks.
Moshier said he's confident the project will be finished by Jan. 1.
Phase three of these repairs will go into effect in the next two or three years, Moshier said.
Arthur Cleveland can be reached at email@example.com