For some of the students at the and elementary schools in Lexington, the 2012-2013 school year has begun with classes in the cafeteria and mealtime in temporary structures outside their under-construction schools.
According to Patrick Goddard, the town’s director of public facilities, slipped behind schedule over the summer and contractors TLT Construction failed to turn over the renovated areas of the buildings on Aug. 17, as had been the plan. As a result, the schools will be utilizing non-traditional teaching spaces, such as the cafeterias and gymnasiums for classroom instruction for the next two or three weeks.
“There has been a lot of effort on the part of the administrators and teachers to educate all of the students,” Goddard said. “The teachers and staff have come up with a workable solution for a temporary time to teach all of the school while we continue to work with TLT Construction to turn over the renovated area.”
The cafeterias at both schools have been divided with 60-inch-tall partitions to form five temporary classrooms, while the gymnasiums at both schools have been split to accommodate one classroom and a workspace for teachers.
It would be understandable for these temporary fixes to be problematic for the teachers and administrators at the Bridge and Bowman schools, but if that’s the case they’re not letting it show on the Bowman-Bridge Renovations blog following renovations at the two schools. Recent posts show teachers and administrators making the best of the situation, which includes Bridge students eating in an outdoor cafeteria in the form of a white tent that looks like something that might host a backyard graduation party or wedding reception.
In one post, Bridge staffers are shown wearing construction hats saying "Bridge Renovation Project 2012-2013.” And in another, from the Bowman School, shows teachers and district administrators chatting about starting the year in their temporary space.
According to Goddard, the construction schedule saw slippage fairly early on. While the town can’t say for certain what caused the work to fall behind schedule, Goddard said it is the contractors’ responsibility to motivate their workers and ensure they keep to the schedule.
After “the dust settles” and students and teachers get back into their classrooms, Goddard said the town, in consultation with the Permanent Building Committee, will begin discussions with TLT about pursuing liquidated damages. Those damages begin with all costs incurred from Aug. 17 through receipt of the certificate of occupancy, Goddard said.
While Goddard said this hiccup is unlikely to throw the entire renovation project off schedule, it’s possible that the town could rethink its relationship with TLT.
“That’s certainly going to be evaluated,” said Goddard. “Where we are and how we continue with this contractor will also be discussed with the Permanent Building Committee.”