Safety a major concern during upcoming renovations

Work will commence on the McMaster's Avenue campus when the Hannibal #60 School District's multi-million dollar construction/renovation project begins this summer.

"At this point, we're looking at doing the HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning) at the high school and middle school this summer," said Rich Stilley, district business manager, during a recent project update for the board of education. "Obviously the career and tech building has to be first because it has no windows, so we have to make sure those (HVAC) systems are up and running."

Access to the school buildings will be limited after the project begins.

"It's not like we will just be able to walk into the high school. It's going to be a construction zone,” Stilley said. “You are going to have to have a hard hat and permission.”

Safety, scope and scheduling were discussed during the weekly meetings between Stilley and the project's contractor, Performance Services.

"Is there anything that will have to be abated? Do we have any asbestos that might be disturbed? I am sure there is lead paint somewhere. We are looking through all of that," Stilley said.

Some of the work will likely occur in confined spaces. "We have to develop plans to have the folks trained in the proper personal protective equipment. Those are things that we are working through," Stilley said.

As important as personal safety is, so is security. Decisions are being made concerning where to store materials that have arrived and are waiting to be installed.

"We will have to fence in areas," Stilley said.

Coordinating all the different aspects of such a complex project, along with the regular summer time building maintenance that must occur, has proven to be a challenge.

"There are a ton of moving parts," Stilley said.

Superintendent Susan Johnson believes the upgrades will have been worth all the effort in the end.

"It is exciting to be able to offer this to our children," she said. "These are exciting times."