Capital Project Drawing to a Close

We’re almost done! Construction on the Johnstown School District Capital Project is coming to a close, and should be completed in time for the new year.

Below are answers to questions you may have:

What work remains?

Almost all of the interior and exterior work at all buildings is complete. Marking the new parking lot behind Johnstown High School is the final project remaining. Between now and December, finish work needs to be completed in order for the building project to officially end.

How is the work inspected for quality?

The Johnstown Capital Project included three types of regular quality inspection:

  • Inspections for design integrity by Architects
  • Inspections for quality workmanship by Project Managers
  • Inspections by the GJSD Director of Facilities 1

Throughout the project, the district’s project management firm inspects the work in the field, interacts daily with contractors, and establishes the goals and deadlines that have to be met.  Should they identify components of the project that are not completed according to the design or to their satisfaction, they work with the District, the architect and the contractors to remediate the concerns.

As project work nears completion, the architects also review the work in the field to identify finish items (called a punch list) that must be addressed.  Project management personnel then follow up on those items to ensure the work has been completed appropriately.

From the outset of this project, the Johnstown School District added a third layer of quality inspection.  In addition to architects and project managers, the district’s Director of Facilities 1 has also been inspecting all phases of work on every aspect of the project.  Should the Director notice components of work that are not completed satisfactorily, the district adds these to the concerns for project management to address and mediate with each contractor. Additionally, Johnstown staff provided feedback on work quality, which was shared with the architects and with project management.

What type of work concerns arise during a capital building project?

There are three primary concerns that arise during a project:

  • Errors either in the craftsmanship or in the building designs.
  • Omissions; essential items that were not factored into the design plans. An example of this might be, discovering that new kitchen designs omitted sink installations (an oversight).
  • Field Conditions:  Unforeseen items that were discovered once work began.  An example of this would be discovering old wiring buried inside a wall in a home. This would involve an additional expense in order to address the wiring. However, this would not necessarily mean that there were errors in design or craftsmanship.

Is it true that the athletic track at Knox has weeds growing through it?

Yes.

Does this mean that the track surface is compromised and that it wasn’t installed correctly?

No.

The athletic track at Knox is not new.  In 2014, the Capital Project work included refurbishing  the existing track. The includes pressure washing the track, removing and patching any cracks, and a applying a new top coat of wear-surface with striping. This new wear-surface is a thin layer that is spray applied, much like a coat of paint, over the rubber track. Its purpose is to lengthen the usable duration of the existing track, which is more cost effective than replacing the track. This new surface was applied correctly with no significant changes to the track structure, shape or function.

The track does occasionally have weeds in it. The type of track at Knox is intended to be porous, like a natural ground surface.  When nature blooms and seeds blow they can land on the surface of the track and grow, just as they would if they landed in dirt.  Public Schools in NYS allow for the use of minimal risk herbicides and manual weed pulling to address this issue, (without seeking emergency permissions for harsher chemicals).  The building and grounds staff address the weeds regularly using the approved methods mentioned above. While weeds are not a pretty sight, they are not indicative of poor quality materials or workmanship.  Instead, they are a regular part of grounds maintenance.

Did the new gym floor cost more money than first proposed?

Yes.

The gym floors that were included in the original architect’s plans had to be changed to a different type.

Why?

When the old floor was completely removed, it was discovered that the subsurface concrete was lower in some portions of the gym than in others. This unforeseen issue had to be addressed, and was an additional expense. A new type of flooring and installation was required. Similar to home renovation projects, the possibility of uncovering additional work exists. Though never desired, additional expenses for these types of discoveries are factored into capital projects and are accounted for in the existing, approved capital project budget.

Is it true the new gym floor squeaks?

Yes it did, but not anymore.

A new “floating” athletic wood floor was installed on a wooden sleeper system. When first installed, the floor squeaked as it settled into place and began to be used. The floor no longer squeaks. The gym hardwood floor does expand and contract in response to heat and humidity, so it may have a squeak during some portions of the year. A review of this installation and the manufacturer’s product was conducted, and it was determined that this is a natural occurrence.

Were newly completed portions of the gym left exposed to the elements over the winter?

No.

As planned, the gym, upper gym, locker rooms, team rooms and pool were completely gutted and rebuilt. The gutted, unoccupied, unusable space was open to the elements as it was being rebuilt from the ground up with new structural steel. Just as a skyscraper is built in the open, each level of the JHS gym/pool/locker rooms were enclosed as the work on that level/portion began. The upper level was the last to be built, and at no time was new finished work left uncovered and/or exposed to the elements. During the heating season, the contractor was responsible for heating costs for the worksite. As was expected, the interior hallways surrounding the gym were cooler. However, they were up to the interior hallway temperature standards for schools to operate. Student-use spaces (classrooms, cafeterias, etc.) were at normal temperatures.

Was last year’s negative tax cap related to the Capital Project?

Yes.

The negative cap was the result of some NYS reimbursement funds arriving before the project was concluded.

Could last year’s negative tax cap have been avoided?

Yes.

In 2014 voters approved the capital project to address a variety of facility concerns throughout the district.  When involved in a three year building project, it was likely that some of the NYS reimbursement funds would arrive before the project would be completed, which is what occurred last year.  Had the district been in the practice of completing a variety of smaller capital projects every few years, the advanced funding may not have occurred.

If the negative tax cap had been avoided would it have made a difference to the school district’s proposed budget?

No.

The negative tax cap meant that a larger percentage of voters (60%) was required to pass the budget, should any tax increase have been proposed. So, though a larger majority was required, it was certain that a tax increase would have been requested regardless of whether or not a larger percentage of voters was required.

What about the concession stand?

Please follow this link for more information:
https://www.johnstownschools.org/concession-stand-conversation/

Capital Project logo

 

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