School board discusses construction delay

William Thompson

School board members questioned an architect and a state-appointed construction supervisor about delays in renovations to school buildings at Monday’s Tucumcari Public Schools Board of Education meeting.

Two phases of a four-phase renovation project begun in the summer of 2004 are complete. according to Sonia Raftery, assistant superintendent of schools.

“We were frustrated that renovations to buildings in the first two phases were not done on time,” Raftery said, “but we were unaware that part of the high school gym’s roof had rotted away. The architects had to redesign the renovation of the roof and then we had to get approval for the new design from the state. We also were unaware that we would have a gas leak problem under the high school.”

Board member Rex Kirksey was critical of renovation delays. During the board meeting he suggested to Kent Taylor of ASA Architects that Tucumcari schools were receiving poor service from the architectural firm.

Taylor responded firmly to Kirksey’s remarks.

“I think it’s unfair to say that we have provided poor service,” Taylor said. “We’ve tried to provide you with quick response on every turn.”

Taylor told board members that unforeseen damage to the gymnasium roof had been found as renovation proceeded, requiring further redesign of the architectural drawings. He also said construction crews needed a one-week window of good weather to repair part of the roof. That period of good weather was slow in coming, he said.

In addition to the delay in renovation of the gymnasium roof, there was also a delay in receiving new doors for the gym and other school buildings. Ovidiu Viorica, the state’s construction supervisor for the nearly $2.5 million project, said the delay in receiving the doors was the fault of the doors’ manufacturer.

“The door frames came ready-made,” said Viorica, “but the doors had to be machined to fit the frames. There was a delay at the manufacturer in machining the doors and delivering them.”

Raftery said she thinks the worst is over.

“We are on schedule for phase three and four,” she said. “The whole project should be done at the time it’s supposed to be done, by the end of fall this year.”

The doors are currently in storage awaiting installation.
According to a school board project schedule, upcoming renovations include complete remodeling of Mesa cafeteria and locker room renovations in the middle school gym. Exterior walls and windows at the high school are also to be replaced.

The bulk of the funding for the renovations comes from the New Mexico Public School Facilities Authority, of which Viorica is a member.