With the spirit of teamwork, contractors have worked together to get the new Duncombe out of the ground
The new Duncombe Elementary School is more than halfway complete, according to Keith Kolacia, of Kolacia Construction Inc., of Fort Dodge.
“The progress has been quite amazing,” Kolacia said. “The building has pretty much taken complete shape. Every single wall except for our utility area is framed up. You can identify every single space right now by its walls.”
Kolacia is the construction manager for the project.
Construction began on the new 65,342-square-foot school in the fall of 2016.
The school is two stories high and is designed to house up to 450 students when it opens.
Four sections of classes for kindergarten through fourth grade will be included. Third- and fourth-grade classes will be located on the second floor.
Three different contractors have worked on portions of the project.
Rasch Construction Inc., of Fort Dodge, completed the prepping of the site work.
Jensen Builders Ltd., of Fort Dodge, completed the footings, foundation and structural steel work.
Woodruff Construction LLC, of Fort Dodge, is working on the remaining bulk of the project.
It is the only contractor of those three left onsite, Kolacia said.
Woodruff was hired for the construction of the building in August 2016. The firm submitted a low bid of $10,937,700 at that time.
Kolacia said working with the different contractors has had its challenges, but overall has been a success.
“I have never worked with my competition before, but it’s gone really well,” he said. “We have been blessed with some hard-working contractors who want to come in and get the job done and, no, that is not always the case.”
Kolacia said much of the progress is not easily seen by the public.
“Footings and foundations you never see,” Kolacia said. “It’s always below ground. You never see any progress until one day, boom there is a gym sitting there. So there is a lot of behind-the-scenes stuff that has to happen before you can really see the visible landmark progress.”
Kolacia said the smaller projects take just as long, if not longer than the bigger aspects of the job.
“Inside, once the building is all enclosed, there is a lot of systems that have to be put into place before other things can happen,” Kolacia said.
About five different trades continue to work at the site, from plumbers and electricians to heating, ventilation and air conditioning specialists.
“We average about 30 to 35 guys on site and it bumps up some days,” Kolacia said.
The main entrance of the school will be located to the south. It is on that side where students will be dropped off.
A large gymnasium, learning center and commons area are some of the notable features of the school.
The gymnasium is located on the southeast corner of the school. It has about a 30-foot-tall ceiling.
Green space and a play area will be directly east of the school. To the north of that will be the staff parking lot.
A majority of classrooms will have windows that will be visible from inside the school, allowing staff to look in on the action of each class.
Natural light and temperature control are both an emphasis with the design of the school, Kolacia said.
Each classroom will also have a door leading directly outside for emergency purposes.
Reinforced concrete that will surround the main restrooms and stairwell is another safety feature with potential emergencies in mind.
Completion of the school is scheduled for December 2017, with the expectation that students and staff will move in after Christmas break.