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More bodies found on Ignacio construction site
5/16/2013 By: Carole McWilliams
“We have to put an end to excavating bodies,” Ignacio School Superintendent Rocco Fuschetto told the school board on May 9 as part of the regular update on school construction projects.
Construction workers at the intermediate school (now referred to by school officials as the elementary school) dug up skeletal human remains back on March 21. That halted work on a sewer line and is affecting drilling of a well field for geothermal heating and cooling at the school.
Fuschetto said last week that seven sets of remains have been found so far, and there could be more. It has cost around $10,500 to determine how many individuals were represented.
The remains are thought to be from the 1920s or 1930s, he told the Times. Re-burial will depend on the ethnicity, to be determined from the facial bone structure.
“We’ve already spent almost $30,000, not counting the work Okland (the general contractor) lost on the sewer line that has to be re-done. By the time we get done, it will be $150,000 to $200,000. That’s my guesstimate. If we have to move the geo field, it will be a lot more,” he said. One row of bores is close to the sewer trench and must be moved.
“I told them let’s get it done so we can backfill the sewer line,” Fuschetto said. He was scheduled to meet the next day with Okland and the middle school contractor, FCI.
The addition and total renovation of IIS will turn it into the elementary school for grades K-5. It is partly funded by a Colorado Department of Education BEST grant, so it must be handled and contracted separate from the district’s other construction projects.
“The BEST grant includes a reserve that they control in Denver for unforeseen conditions,” architect Stuart Coppedge said. “The intermediate school will probably be the poster child for unforeseen conditions,” he said.
Fuschetto said he will seek money from the BEST reserve to help pay for the excavating and re-burial.
There are 20 more bores to be drilled for the geo field, Coppedge said. “They found water more than once. It’s a messy site. The far east edge where the remains were found, we can’t get in there yet.”
But Coppedge said, “We are on schedule and on budget.”
Work on the building is going fine, Fuschetto said.
Across County Road 320, the new middle school is starting to look like a building, he said. It’s supposed to be ready for students when school starts after Labor Day. “We are getting pretty close to picking all the furniture for the middle school,” he said.
The school board will meet at the construction sites for a tour before the June 13 board meeting.
“There’s a lot going on,” Coppedge said. “They are very tight sites. The contractors seem to be doing a good job.”
“The schedule is tight on the middle school,” he said. “FCI is doing a fine job. They will get it done.”
The bond issue projects have been pushing the limits of how much can be done at the same time.
Fuschetto noted that work will start soon on the new administration building and a total renovation of the wrestling and fine arts building west of the high school. The district warehouse and maintenance shop also will move into that building.
Coppedge added, “We are glad to be able to lay out that building. You’ll be amazed at the transformation.” The pre-construction meeting for that was scheduled for May 16.
It has to be done by late August, Fuschetto said.
The board approved Okland as they contractor for that. They had the lowest of three bids at $1.267 million That’s under budget, Fuschetto said.
“We’ll start back up on the high school plans in a few weeks,” Coppedge said. “We were getting nervous that the dominoes were so close together.”
The other big thing is major improvements and infrastructure work on CR 320 to accommodate the elementary and middle schools. The district, town, and county are contributing $500,000 each for that work.
The school board approved the intergovernmental agreement for that at the May 9 meeting. The town board and county commissioners approved it Tuesday.
Coordinating major road work with the elementary and middle school construction is scary, Coppedge said.
Fuschetto said, “We can’t close that road completely. The town says we can’t go up Burns Street with our trucks. I have to talk to the town and county to coordinate the road.”
Goff Engineering will get the design done, and then it will go out for bid. The town will be in charge of that and will oversee that project, Fuschetto said.
Sidewalks and bike paths will make the road a lot safer for students, he said.
Coppedge asked for and got board approval for additional architect’s fees because of extra time spent on the BEST project and the high school. He argued that the request was reasonable for the extra work.
Fuschetto said, “They’ve put in a lot more time than we originally anticipated.” That included plans to add a performance auditorium at the high school.
Coppedge said, “To go from a cafetorium to a full-blown auditorium is a big jump.”
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