By Emily Younker
The arrival of the new year should bring a flurry of work to the construction sites of Joplin’s newest schools.
“We’re to that point now where things are really going to start popping,” said Mike Johnson, director of construction for the Joplin School District.
The East Middle School and related elementary school project is “moving along fast,” Johnson said. All footings and a portion of the concrete slabs are complete, and most of the under-slab mechanical systems are in place, he said.
Concrete walls for the gymnasiums have been poured and are going up. Crews also have begun putting up structural steel, which was delivered to the site earlier this month.
“It looks like a beehive when the workers are in full production,” Johnson said.
Construction crews at Irving Elementary School have completed slabs and mechanical systems on the southern end of the property and are working their way northward, Johnson said.
Structural steel also has arrived at the site and will likely go up soon, he said.
“You’ll start seeing steel erected any day on the south end,” he said. “It’s ready to really start showing progress.”
Work at the Joplin High School and Franklin Technology Center site is progressing, although it remains less visible to passers-by.
School district officials opened bids just before Christmas for plumbing, electrical, heating, cooling and electronic security systems, and they hope to present those to the Board of Education next month, Johnson said.
The excavation of the site is complete, with retaining walls for a drainage ditch being built around 24th Street and Indiana Avenue, he said.
The old mine shafts uncovered on the property last month have been capped, meaning that work on foundations, footings and the drilling of piers by Neosho-based Branco Enterprises Inc. could begin any day, Johnson said.
“They were mobilizing just before Christmas break to go into full production today,” he said on Wednesday.
Johnson said structural steel has been ordered and is scheduled to arrive once the foundations and piers are complete.
Meanwhile, district officials have received and are reviewing completed drawings of the high school building from Corner, Greer and Associates, of Joplin.
“That’s kind of a milestone, getting those finalized drawings,” Johnson said.
IRVING ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, East Middle School and the elementary school at East are scheduled to open in December 2013. Joplin High School and Franklin Technology Center are projected to open in August 2014.