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New school still on schedule

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By Ben Bomberger, Reporter

INDEPENDENCE — One of the final pieces of constructing a new school in the western end of Grayson County will begin shortly, after the school board awarded a bid for the septic system at Grayson Highlands School.

The school system received four bids, according to Personnel Director Chad Newman, with the low bid coming from New River Construction in the amount of $159,900.

Board Member Gary Burris motioned to accept the bid during the regular school board meeting Nov. 9 and it was seconded by Board Member Hobert Baily. The motion passed unanimously.

Newman told the board that the contractor gave the school system a four- to six-week window for completing the project, noting that it would depend on how quickly the needed equipment was delivered.

Earlier in the meeting, Bill Ring, clerk of the works for the school project, provided a positive update to the construction progress.

Ring said that a three-phase electrical system was now on site at the school and that the building was going through a warming and drying process.

He added that a roundtable meeting was held with all the sub-contractors and a plan was developed that included a schedule with Dec. 14 as the completion date.

When asked if any sub-contractors thought that date was impossible to reach, none spoke up.

Ring did, however, tell the board that a few things could potentially hold the project up if there were unforeseen circumstances.

One project, of course, is the water line that is still under construction. Contractors did encounter some rock, and are waiting on a boring machine to be brought in.

"We expect the water to be turned on later this month," Ring told the board. "Progress is quite good."

In regards to the septic system, Ring said the plans have been approved by the local health department and sent to the state. Now, the county must wait for the state to give final approval before moving forward.

"Things like that are potential delays in the opening of the school," Ring said, noting that none of those factors were of major concern at the present time.

He added that not having the electrical system earlier slowed things down. The contractors were ready about six weeks ago, and had to wait on laying the tile and hanging some outside doors until the temperature could be controlled inside the buildings.

Ring praised Vannoy & Sons, the general contractor, for their hard work to complete the school on time.

"They have bent over backwards to arrange their schedule to fit our needs. It appears we are going to have a building real soon."

One other delay that won't effect the opening of the school is in the gymnasium.

Ring said the flooring has to have time to acclimate to its surroundings, and that contractors are dealing with a bit of a problem handling the supports for the basketball goals.

The flooring also cannot be laid until the supports are up, because the heavy machinery used could damage the floor.

"It's a very upbeat report," Ring said. "We are making substantial progress. Painting is essentially complete, paving is expected to take place later this week, grass is coming up, it's beginning to come to fruition... Our students that are now in Bridle Creek and Mount Rogers are going to be blessed and also students who have yet to come. They will have a first-rate facility to attend."

When asked if the school is still expected to open as planned, Ring said he expects to stand ready on Dec. 14 to say "yes, we made it."

The school is expected to open following the holiday break in January.

Grayson Highlands School will merge Bridle Creek Elementary and Mount Rogers Combined, closing each and saving the county significant money.

Upon closure, the county will look at what to do with the old buildings.