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Change swift at high school

The Brookhaven High School campus is looking a little differentthese days.

Already gone is the old activities building on the west side ofthe main high school building. The old cafeteria-ROTC building onthe west side was being torn down Thursday.

“The demolition is in full swing,” said Brookhaven SchoolDistrict Superintendent Dr. Sam Bounds.

Bounds estimated demolition aspects of BHS’s $11 millionexpansion and renovation project to be about 50 percent complete.Crews have until Aug. 25 to complete that work and Bounds predictedno problems in meeting that deadline.

Asbestos abatement was done early on and quickly completed.Virginia Wrecking Company crews have been focusing on interior workrecently.

“The internal gutting of the main building is about 90 percentcomplete,” Bounds said.

In the school’s auditorium, only painted row numbers and otherresidual markings remain after seats have been removed. Insulationand other debris occupy an area near the auditorium stage, wheresome props from the school’s last play remain.

“We’re tearing down history and adding on progress,” saiddemolition worker Dwayne Smith while ripping out a section of theauditorium roof.

The auditorium, with its electrical outlet and othershortcomings, is one area that will see big improvements in theupcoming work. Exterior building changes include two new classroomwings that will be located on the old activities and cafeteriabuilding sites.

“It’s going to be quite a change from what people are used toseeing while driving by,” Bounds said.

The construction project suffered a minor setback this week whendiscrepancies in bid specifications packages for contractors werediscovered. Bounds said architects informed him of severaloversights in the approximately two-inch thick document Wednesdayafternoon.

Construction bids had been scheduled to be opened Thursdayafternoon. The bid opening has been pushed back to Aug. 1, Boundssaid.

Bounds said a new state law signed this year says that noproject specification addendums or modifications can be made within48 working hours, or roughly six days, of a bid opening. Thesuperintendent added he has heard of several other projects’ bidopenings having to be delayed because of the new law.

The delay means the school board will issue a notice to proceedwith the project on Aug. 7 instead of Aug. 1 as originally planned,Bounds said.

“We’ve only delayed it four working days,” Bounds said,mentioning a weekend included in the delay period. “It’s not amajor thing at all.”

Bounds said the project is still moving forward, and there willstill be a 14-month period for construction. The superintendent wasexpecting to award a good bid on the project.

“There’s still a great interest among contractors,” Bounds said.”We’re anticipating good competition on the bids.”

Once a bid is awarded, Bounds said construction crews would beable to work on renovating the main school building whiledemolition work continues until Aug. 25.

Robert Freeman, superintendent with Carothers ConstructionManagement Co., told school board members at Monday’s meeting thathe hoped to make up some days and complete demolition early. Boundscomplimented Freeman on his work with the school project.

“He’s running a pretty tight ship over there,” Bounds said.