An audit of the construction site at Brook Park School presented at the Brookfield-LaGrange Park School District 95 school board meeting Dec. 13 revealed that, despite a couple early shake-ups, the project is currently on schedule and within budget.
Construction on the addition at Brook Park, which is being overseen by Gilbane Building Company, began in September. In a summary of the work done to date, site supervisor Carl Krause said all the exterior walls are nearly finished, and, weather permitting, they planned to begin work on the roofing next week. In addition, Krause said the project is well within the original budget, with a remaining contingency fund of about $645,000.
“We’re on track with the work,” Krause said. “We still anticipate having the addition done by mid-May.”
Krause said work was able to continue on the site due to the heaters, tarps and plywood barriers the crew is using to keep the masonry above the necessary 32 degrees to ensure it will set correctly.
According to an audit of the site conducted by Gilbane, these protections, as well as other quality and safety measures, are being implemented as planned.
Steven Oden, who conducted and presented the audit to the board, said the site passed all inspections during his one-day visit to the site. He said he looked at the quality of the actual construction, as well as the maintenance of the project’s working blueprints. The only suggestions Oden made for improvement involved increasing communication among Gilbane, district administrators and the district’s architecture firm, FGM Architects.
“Carl has really got a hold of [this project]. He knows the drawings extremely well,” Oden said. “I feel really comfortable about it, from a third-party perspective.”
Despite the positive review, however, construction has not gone entirely smoothly in the past three months. Krause is actually the second site supervisor for the project, having only been assigned to the post last month. According to Jeff Masters, the Midwest operations manager for Gilbane who also spoke at last week’s board meeting, the original supervisor requested a transfer to Texas for family reasons.
Before that, workers had also mis-measured the location of a doorway in an interior wall by about four feet when they were first laying cinder blocks. In a phone interview, District 95 Superintendent Thomas Hurlburt said three or four layers of cinder blocks had to be removed after the mistake was discovered.
“It was very early on in the initial stages, when they were just doing the initial layouts,” he said.
Still, the earlier mistake did prompt heightened scrutiny by some board members. Board member Chris Blackburn stressed that he expected Gilbane to take extra care in protecting the materials against the cold weather, especially when installing the roof. Board member Pat Speziale also questioned how thoroughly Oden’s inspection had been conducted and pressed for fuller explanations of his findings, saying he didn’t want any more “glaring errors” made on the project.
Masters assured the board that the crew would work with the roof manufacturer to determine the best weather conditions to install the roof, and Oden defended the audit, noting that he found no errors in construction or documentation while on the site. Hurlburt also expressed confidence in the work being done, especially when it came to Krause’s role in the project.
“Krause is doing a good job, he’s really picked up things quickly,” he said. “We’re moving along well.”