By Emily Younker
Globe Staff Writer
JOPLIN, Mo. —
The recent release of final architectural drawings for Joplin High School and Franklin Technology Center means the bulk of the project is ready to be put out for bid, according to Mike Johnson, director of construction for the Joplin School District.
“That’s a milestone,” he said.
Johnson said the architectural firm, Corner Greer and Associates, Joplin, gave the district preliminary pieces of the project to bid out so that on-site work could begin while the drawings were finalized. He said the district now is working to put the project out to contractors, with the opening of bids scheduled in about six weeks.
Work continues at the high school site installing a storm drain and pouring concrete for footings and piers, he said. Crews also are preparing for the arrival of steel in early March by finishing up the footings, slabs and underground mechanical systems.
“That’ll be another milestone, to start seeing the red iron coming out of the ground, the skeleton of the building,” he said.
At Irving Elementary School, workers are erecting precast concrete for the school’s safe room, putting up steel, pouring concrete and beginning to put up exterior walls wherever steel is in place, Johnson said. Work for heating, cooling and electrical systems is getting started inside the building, he added.
Steel also is arriving daily at the East Middle School and elementary school site, where crews are nearing completion of slab work and concrete work on the gymnasiums, Johnson said. Also under way are concrete block walls, “and then we’ll start talking about roofs going on,” he said.
Johnson said workers have lost a few days recently to wintry weather. Excavation work at the high school site was suspended during recent rains because the ground became too muddy, he said. At the East and Irving sites, concrete work was suspended some days because of the cold, he said.
“You can’t pour concrete or put concrete blocks in unless the temperature is above a certain level,” Johnson said. “Today (Friday), for instance, we couldn’t do any concrete pours because it was so cold last night. But we’ve been able to plan ahead and look at the weather forecast and have everything prepared for that warm day out there and the trucks roll.”
District officials are also looking to begin construction of five safe rooms — at McKinley, Eastmorland, Cecil Floyd and Stapleton elementary schools and at Junge Stadium — as soon as school is out this spring, Johnson said. The start date for construction depends on approval of the safe room designs by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which is still pending, he said.
Construction of safe rooms at the remaining schools in Joplin is also planned. FEMA will provide 75 percent of the funds, while the district is responsible for the other 25 percent.
The district recently received a $2.8 million Community Development Block Grant to help cover its portion, Johnson said.
High school design
New artist’s renderings and a virtual tour of Joplin High School and Franklin Technology Center are available on the district’s website, joplin.k12.mo.us.