Fall facilities update: improved security, leaky ceilings and further delays


By Daniel Davidson and Iris Sherron

Another delay is pushing back Lawrence High’s construction schedule.

Luke Deets, McCownGordon’s LHS project executive, announced the delay in phases two and three to the school board on Oct. 14. Phase two, originally planned to be finished before the spring semester, is now expected to complete in early 2020.

This phase, which students can hear in progress from classes, includes renovations of the former annex building and its connection to the main building. Phase three, which focused on the gym, had its summer deadline shifted back as well.

Although changes have not yet affected the original project deadline of August 2021, further adjustments aren’t out of the question.

“[Deets] added that the new team is evaluating future phases of construction to determine whether additional shifts to the timeline are needed,” a district news release said.

Initial delays were a result of an “aggressive” schedule that was disrupted this summer by discovery of asbestos and structural issues, according to McCownGordon’s Brian Roth. As a result, the start of the school year was pushed back by six days to Aug. 21, with 36 classrooms still being unfinished.

“We encountered a lot,” said Roth, K-12 senior project manager. “When you build a project like this where you are renovating an existing space… it’s little stuff that adds up, unforeseen items.”

According to Deets, a more reasonable construction schedule and focus on improved channels of communication will prevent similar disruptions in the future.

“Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of all those involved, we need extra time to deliver on our plans,” Superintendent Anthony Lewis said a letter announcing the delay.

School board agrees to visitor security update

Last Spring, Lawrence High implemented a student badge system to secure exteriors

Yesterday, Oct. 28, the school board voted 5-2 in support of purchasing a visitor security system from Hall Pass School Visitor Management.

The $69,000 purchase, paid for by the Kansas Security Grant Fund, will be gradually tested this spring and then potentially implemented district-wide next year. The system gives schools the ability to print visitor badges and perform background checks on visitor IDs, verifying identities with databases such as the National Sex Offenders registry.

Specifics for how a school may proceed if an individual is unable to provide identification or are a registered sex offender will be left up to the district’s discretion.

The full breakdown of the purchase can be found here.

Leaky ceilings flood classes in innovation corridor

Teachers and students moved into new classrooms as the innovation corridor opened during the fall semester

With water puddling up on the floor, chemistry teacher Lydia Reimers assumed her classroom’s ceiling was leaking from the rain. That is, until she saw it was a bright and sunny day outside.

That water turned out to be coming from construction.

“It was a huge downpour out here,” Reimers said. “It was coming in and coming down the walls and the windows and all across the window sills and down the floor.”

According to Reimers, facilities director and assistant principal Quentin Rials said the the water was a result of construction workers power washing the building’s exterior walls on the second level.

Reimers was told leakage was a result of the second floor not being water-sealed as it was still under construction. The leak, however, has already caused damage to Reimer’s newly renovated room.

“There is damage to the ceiling and the ceiling tiles along the wall,” Reimers said. “It had also trickled over, and there is damage on the ceiling away from the wall.”

Reimers isn’t the only one who have experienced this problem. Several teachers in the new innovation corridor have reported problems with ceilings leaking and causing damage to the room and furniture.

“It damaged student artwork, papers on the desk, printouts, it got all over the floor, the furniture, the telephone and chairs,” Todd Poteet, a fine arts teacher, said.

Poteet said some teachers in the hallway believe a condenser unit directly overhead could be causing condensation that is contributing to the leaks. Rials was unable to be reached for comment.