Updates on the District Building Renovation Plan

Hidden Progress

One can never tell a book by its cover...the outside of the building may look the same from the road, but looking closer, we can see that the last major milestone on the project was met! Right on schedule!! It's been a while since the last update, but the construction crew has NOT been taking any time off.

Here's what the inside of the building looked like at the last report:

School Construction
School Construction

When we added the new building section, we knew that we would need to get more power to the site. A new transformer was ordered quite some time ago and was put into place during the Thanksgiving break. This new transformer provides electrical power for the entire Grass Lake School campus (both new and old sections). To add to the difficulty of placing the transformer, an old fuel tank was found in the same location as was the main gas supply for the building. The professional contractors that have been working on the construction did an excellent job! 

Here's a list of everything that had to happen so the entire campus has adequate power:

  1. Removal of the old transformer

  2. Pump out the remains in the old fuel tank

  3. Fill the old fuel tank with concrete

  4. Plce the new transformer properly

  5. Make all of the connections to the new transformer

In addition to the placing of the new transformer and the connection to power, everything listed below is installed:
Sprinkler system piping

  • Electrical wiring

  • Heat ductwork

  • Interior steel studs

  • Interior window and door frames

  • Exterior windows

This is A LOT of progress! Here's what it looks like today!​​​​​

School Construction
School Construction

We have temporary heat in the building (soon to be permanent).This will allow the workers to continue doing their jobs over the cold winter months. 

Here's what the outside of the building looks like on the backside. The new windows look great! Don't they?
outside of building showing new windows
Delivery of building materials for the inside of the building.

Finally we received a delivery at the end of November. This large delivery of insulation and drywall will go up very quickly and then, next report, the inside will really be taking shape!


There's MORE to a Building than JUST Block Walls

Last time we showed the new concrete floors being poured, but there is much more to do before we can start using the new building.  We have only just started the construction.

On the inside of the new building, the builders have started to add the steel parts.

steel parts 1
steel parts 2
steel parts 3

The big horizontal pieces are called beams. They are the ones up in the air that hold up the funny looking pieces. Those funny looking pieces are called joists and they all hold up the roof that will be applied later. The beams and joists don’t stay in the air by magic though. They are held up by steel columns. All of this steel will hold up the roof, but you will never see any of it when the job is done. The builder has not started putting on the roof yet, but here is a stack of the steel that will be used.

concrete block wall

Finally, the outside of the concrete block walls has been painted with a black paint that will help keep the rain from making the block wall wet. At the end of construction, we won’t be able to see this paint either. We know it will keep our new building warm and dry though.

But if you look real close, you can still see the nails sticking out. Anyone know why those nails are in the wall?

brick walls

Onward and Upward

Every time we drive past the new building we see that it’s growing taller. One concrete block at a time, but there’s lots going on down at ground level also. Let’s see what’s been going on.

Here are some stacks of concrete blocks used to construct the walls and the walls under construction:

concrete blocks
concrete blocks installed

You can see that the ground has been covered with stone so that the concrete floor stays level after it is poured. We wouldn’t want to have crooked floors in our brand new building. The white pipes sticking up from the floor are all of the water pipe connections for the new building. Once the concrete is poured it would be very hard to get pipes into the ground anymore.

With the stone nice and level, the builders put plastic down so that when the ground is very wet the water does not sneak up into our new building. Finally, the builders add steel wire over the plastic. This is to make the concrete floor really strong so it will last for many years.

steel wire over plastic
snorkel truck

This is called a snorkel truck. It kind of reminds me of a big elephant’s nose. We call it his trunk. The snorkel truck gets wet concrete from the concrete truck and spreads it over the steel wire in the last picture. The snorkel truck can reach very far into the very corners of the new building so the entire floor is covered.

After all of the concrete is poured, the builders need to make the floor very flat. They do this by using the long stick with a board at the end. This is called a float because the board is “floating” over the concrete making it flat.

making the concrete smooth

This man is making the concrete smooth where the columns will go. Or is he writing his name in the concrete? You decide. I wonder how he will get out of the middle of all that wet concrete!!!

Up, Up, and Away (Into the Basement)

Crane lifting a huge tank

Tuesday was a BIG day. 

Early in the morning a big crane was at Grass Lake School to place a huge tank in the basement of the new addition. This new tank will be filled with water and is part of the sprinkler system that is required for the new school addition. Eight feet in diameter and more than 25 feet long, this tank will hold a lot of water. The crane used is able to pick up a load as heavy as 165 tons. That’s 370,000 pounds. This tank was not that heavy, but we had to reach a long way to get it into the new basement.  

This date has been planned since April/May of this year as the date to set this tank in the basement and it happened right on schedule. That means with all of the rain, the flooding, and even the start of school everything is right on schedule for the project.   

There were also two heavy electrical cabinets and the metal flooring above the will make up the basement roof put in place. 

 Here are a few more pictures:

huge maroon tank
maroon tank top picture
Huge crane

But that’s not all that’s been done since the last report. The concrete foundations have been poured for most of the new addition and the steel forms that make the walls straight have been removed. In the next couple of days, the concrete block walls will start to be constructed.

There has also been some ground work done on the opposite side of the school (near the current front door.) No, it’s not a new swimming pool or a fish pond. The ground work is only being done to change the slope of the hill a bit and to put in some underground drainage that will force rainwater to move off the school property. This is just the beginning of the groundwork that has been planned since the beginning of this project.

Sorry Kids, no pool this year.

Heavy equipment digging the ground

It’s here, it’s here. . . . . . the first day of school!!!

Kids are happy-No more boredom of summer. Parents are happy – No more bored kids. Teachers are back doing what they do best. And the school is ready . . . . . . . well pretty much.

We’ve had a really busy summer and lots of things have happened. Partly due to plan and partly due to that little rain event we had in July; we’ve really made some changes in the school where the kids will be this year.

Here’s how the basement looked on July 12th after the storms.

With the severe rain and all of the construction already started, the water and mud broke through all of the barriers and gave us 4” of mud across the entire basement area. Everything that was stacked up in the basement had to be moved upstairs and cleaned. Don Quinnett and the custodial crew did a great job getting everything moved and cleaned. The gym and the storage shed by the old schoolhouse were packed, but the basement was empty. 

Door with mad

Now with the great assistance of the building contractor all of the extra work in the basement began, but instead of remodeling half the basement as planned we redid the entire basement in the same time frame. As many people in the community heard, the old flooring had to be specially handled and we lost another two weeks. It really made these last two weeks busy. Enter your content here.

Ceiling renovation

Here is basement on July 31.

(This is the same corner shown above. The wood sheet covers the opening to the new basement.) 


Old small rooms removed, ceiling redone (but not yet painted), flooring completely removed (right down to the concrete), and every piece of drywall removed that could have gotten wet. All that was left was the concrete floors and walls and the plaster ceiling.

Here’s the basement on August 17th, just 7 days ago. Ceiling is painted.  New drywall is all up.  But no flooring yet and lots of work to do. Those boxes towards the back are the new flooring tile. It was quite something to be in the basement at this time. Everything was getting done at once, but the workers knew that school started in a week and everyone did a great job. 
Old small rooms removed,ceiling redone picture

Up in their temporary offices, Mrs. Plath and Dr. Bailey, our current Superintendent, were working with staff to make plans for the coming year and the rest of the office staff were getting ready for the new year. In the gym and around the school, many of the teachers were coming in to sort out what they would need for the coming year.

As of Wednesday August 23rd, here is what our new basement area looks like.

Meeting room picture
Class room picture
Administration office picture
Class room picture with white boards

And here is the brand new open area in the basement.

brand new open area in the basement picture

(This was earlier in the morning and a lot of these tables and chairs were moved into the classrooms during the day.)

In addition to all of this work in the basement, two new smaller rooms have been added on the first floor and they are set up for the new school year and ready for use also ready for use

We’ve still got a long way to go on the new addition. Concrete is being poured and steel beams are being set into place. After losing quite a number of days to wet weather and all of the unexpected work on the basement, the Construction Manager tells us that we are back on schedule.

Welcome Back to School!

Tick, Tick, Tick . . . .

That’s the sound of the clock as we move towards the opening days of the new year at Grass Lake School. We’ve had quite a summer, but we’ve turned a corner and things are steaming ahead. Most of the demolition is done. The earthwork is done for the new basement addition. Forms are up and the concrete pour will take place in the next several days.
In the existing building, several of the new offices have walls and the ceiling grid is going in. We’re just about ready for flooring in the upstairs area. In the basement, the water and mud from the storms is gone, the flooring has been removed and the ceiling is finished in what will be a great additional open space in our existing school. 

The project is very close to on schedule . . . . as is the budget. We have had a few setbacks, but hard work and decisions by the school board, our community partners, and our general contractor have kept us moving forward and on plan.

Here's where we were:

digging site in grass lake school
Crane digging picture

Here's what it looks like now:

Constructions materials picture

. . . and in the basement things need to be sorted out, but here’s the starting point.

basement room picture
Room renovation picture
ceiling renovation picture

Going, Going......Gone!!

Last report had lots of text. This time, we've got pictures to show and lots of progress to report!

First, though, this project is all about safety! No one is allowed on site without steel toe shoes and all of the safety gear!

Safety equipment picture

Here's the old school going down and some of the equipment used:

old school being demolished
 demolished building picture
old school being demolished using a crane
old school being demolished by heavy equipment
old school building demolition

And once the demolition is done, as much as possible is sorted and shipped off for recycling...

metals for Recycle
scrap metals for recycle
wall bricks for recycle
Demolished building

Here's where we were last week. By now the demolition is probably complete and the digging started.

Not as Quiet as it Seems

While it seems that little has been done on our addition over the past weeks, that couldn't be farther from the truth. Like all construction projects, the appearance of the building will change in fits and starts. Here's some of the work that's been done since the last update:
  •  All of the connections between the school and the wing that will be demolished are being cut. Electrical, plumbing, and roofing connections are almost all cut. Once the dozer comes in, it should be a clean demolition.
  • Doors have been placed between the school and the construction area. Safety is key in this project and we don't want anyone in the construction site that shouldn't be there.
  • Some bad products were found in the flooring material which is making us do more hazardous material work than we expected. This will slow things down a bit, but the contractor assures us that we will still be on schedule.
  • Just when we thought we had things under control, the AC unit that cools the basement area decided to quit. This unit is so old that we can't even get replacement parts for it anymore. The facilities committee has looked at the problem and it looks like we'll be redoing both the heat and air in the basement of the existing building. Sometimes things just break.
  • A couple of smaller items too:
  • The main entrance has been moved and the parking lot in front of it will be a pretty busy place. 
  • To allow traffic a better way to turn around, some added pavement has been put down on the end. This will most likely only be temporary, but it sure will help during the change. 
  • The parking spaces will be changed around a little with the new bus turnaround. Take care where you park (unless your car is a good paint match to a school bus).

Demolition of the old wing should start very soon and we'll have more pictures to share.

Going, Going,.....

The school year is over and big changes are going to be happening this summer. The Grass Lake School addition is about to begin. All of the paperwork is complete and soon the demolition will begin. Some work was already completed during the winter break, but now the real fun begins.

Here's what the Art and Music room look like now:

The old wall board has been removed as well as much of the ceiling tile. This is the original brick wall that was behind the boards. See the steel mesh at the top with all of the concrete stuck to it? That’s what they used to cover the old brick wall. These boards (and the ceiling tile) were specially taken down in case there was any materials that would cause pollution.

Wall renovation

Here is the hallway that used to lead to the main school building....

You can see that the ceiling and floor tile have all been taken out already.

construction clip art
undone hallway picture

So one last look at the old Grass Lake School....

Old school picture
Old school fornt picture

It will look quite a bit different very soon!!

December 14, 2014 - Composite Drawings (click on a link for the detailed drawing):

On October 24, 2016, the GLS Board of Education approved to move forward with a new addition replacing the 1947 wing of Grass Lake School. The $6,000,000 construction project is paid with 100% school fund balance. No additional taxes were required.

Click on the photo below for the Board Presentation:

New wing building picture

In May 2016, the Board of Education approved moving forward with a $6,000,000 renovation and addition of Grass Lake School.  The renovation would include a demolition and replacement of the original 1947 wing.

Existing Building Layout
Renovated Building Layout

In December 2016 (over break), the encapsulated ceilings and pipes in the original 1947 wing will be abated.