Morgan County School District reports that construction on the Morgan High School addition and new Mountain Green Middle School is progressing on schedule within two weeks. The mild winter weather allowed construction on the bond-supported projects to commence early and has helped compensate for an unexpected challenge on the MHS project. All work is scheduled to be complete for the opening of the 2019 school year with the new MHS cafeteria slated to begin serving lunch on September 15, 2018.
Construction is two weeks ahead of the given timetable at the future Mountain Green Middle School. At the site just off the beginning of Trapper’s Loop Road, there have been no complications to delay the work, and there are already pillars and footings to mark the foundation of the county’s second middle school. “We are building on a clean slate there, and it has allowed work to progress rapidly so far,” Morgan County Schools’ Superintendent, Doug Jacobs reported.
The MHS addition is running a week behind due to complications caused by an old, buried septic tank. “We were aware of the septic tank,” Jacobs noted. “But, we didn’t realize it was still full. It had to be emptied and excavated. Emptying it proved to be a lengthy task. After 12 loads, the workers stopped counting.”
“Once the tank was removed more dirt had to be brought in to provide the needed compaction, but now we are moving forward again,” Jacobs continued.
“All contracts are hired, and bids have come in lower than expected, but they are escalating in price. We got in at a good time,” Jacobs reported. “We are pleased that Hogan Construction has followed the direction of the School Board to hire local sub-contractors when possible.”
A weekly construction meeting with Hogan provides the district updates. Jacobs usually attends the meetings, but always present are Morgan County Schools’ Business Administrator D’Lynn Poll, the building architect from NJRA and the Hogan representatives.
“Hogan has been very accommodating and concerned about safety. In the next few weeks, a privacy barrier will be added to the fence around the high school project,” Jacobs remarked.
With the progress on the buildings continuing, the district continues to delve into the transportation problems created by the construction and concentration of schools on Young Street.
“I think we have figured out the bussing situation for the high school and the middle school, and it is working well now,” Jacobs informed. “We really appreciate the patience of the students, employees and parents as we work to build our new addition next to the current building. It provides some logistic challenges. Recently, Hogan worked with the district to create a handicap accessible path to the seminary building from the high school.”
Over the summer, the district will move all the portables from high school rear parking lot to the portable lot just past the elementary school. This will open up more parking spaces for students and faculty in the lot behind the high school.
In addition to the construction of new buildings, the district is also planning how to manage the additional staffing needs of the new middle school. Plans are in place to begin the hiring process for the new principal for Mountain Green Middle School in January 2019. It is anticipated that the new principal will begin work assembling his or her team in March 2019. All teachers in the district will be given a choice to remain at MMS or move to MGMS. Boundaries are to be determined, families will be given a choice to attend either school, but bussing will not be given to out of boundary students.
“Overall, I am pleased to report that our construction is progressing well,” Jacobs concluded. “Most of the steel work at Morgan High will be done this summer when our current building is unoccupied, and the community will really be able to see the structure rise. Mountain Green Middle School will also begin to rise. It’s exciting to see the progress on these new facilities that will help us accommodate the growth in Morgan County Schools.”