Building the Future: New Johnston High School Construction on Schedule and Budget

Despite a cold winter and wet spring, construction on the new Johnston High School continues to be on schedule and on budget.

John Petersen, Project Manager for Stahl Construction, said cold weather and frozen ground assisted in setting up the large precast panels for the auditorium this winter. A spring warm-up has allowed crews to pour foundations for the classroom and gymnasium wings and begin drilling the 700 geothermal wells surrounding the high school.

And while the rain has come down this spring and early summer, crews have stayed dry, thanks to completed roofing on the auditorium and having the roof started on the classroom wings.

This is an aerial drone view of the new Johnston High School showing completed roof sections on the auditorium and classroom area (facing west).

“In spite of the recent rains, progress is moving forward on the new high school,” Petersen said. “Not including our people, we have around 110 workers on site every day, doing everything from foundations to roofing.  At this point, the construction is much more visible to the public as they drive by and that’s fun to watch as the work progresses.”

With an expected completion date just a little less than two years away (April 2017), constructions crews will continue working to roof and enclose the classroom sections in coming weeks. The next major step is erecting the gymnasium walls, located on the south side of the property. One parking lot on the backside of the building has also been paved, allowing trucks and equipment to access the site while roadwork is done on 100th Street.

Meanwhile, district officials and Board of Education members have been examining internal features – such as the information technology infrastructure – needed to support student learning. The board’s physical environment committee recently met to discuss possible IT solutions and costs. At the time the high school project was bid, the IT costs/needs were not priced because of the rapid speed of change in the field.

“Providing our students and teachers with the right equipment and infrastructure to support that equipment is critical,” said Jill Morrill, board member and member of the physical environment committee. “The use of technology in education is ever-changing; it’s important we look at the options that will meet our needs for years to come and keep us on budget.”

A drone image captures steel and concrete work done on the classroom sections near the front entrance area.

The board’s physical environment committee has also spent time examining pricing for a functional track and field area. At the June 22 meeting, the board voted to approve an approximately $2 million change order that would create the track and turf area.This is an alternate project of the new high school and not part of the original bond referendum or project bid. When additional dollars from the Physical Plant Equipment Levy (PPEL) fund or sales tax dollars accumulate, the district will build a new stadium facility. Games and events will continue to be held at the current JHS stadium.

“A new stadium has always been a want versus a need,” said JCSD Superintendent Corey Lunn. “Our main focus is completing the high school on time and on budget, then filling in the extras, such as a new stadium. It will come, but we have a functional facility at the current high school students can use until that time.”

Watch for drone videos and photos posted by Stahl and shared with the district. Follow @StahlCo and@JohnstonCSD for regular updates on the new high school.

Article originally published on the Johnston Community School District website. The full article can be found at: