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A look inside the new middle school

Building shell is set; interior work continues

May 26, 2012
By BRANDON L. SUMMERS, Messenger staff writer , Messenger News

Construction on the Fort Dodge Community School District's new middle school has moved forward since the September groundbreaking on the $32 million project.

Nine months later, with the shell of the building set, work proceeds on the school interiors and the auditorium.

"It's going really well," Shane Albrecht, district construction manager, said during a tour of the interior. "They're putting a lot of the walls up on the inside as well as a lot of the interior duct work and stuff like that. They're setting up the frames over the auditorium right now."

Article Photos

-Messenger photo by Brandon L. Summers
Shane Albrecht, FDCSD construction manager, stands in the hall of the second floor of the district’s new middle school. Work is being done on the pods for the eighth-grade section.

The last of the steel and precast was being set on the south side of the building Friday, Albrecht said, which is a highlight for the project.

"When they set that last bit of precast, that will be all the precast and the whole job will end up being set," he said.

A second crane was brought in to work on the school's auditorium, a $3.75 million addition that will be used for all district events. Three of its walls are already standing.

"They're setting bar joists across there right now, to get that to brace the other walls, so they can finish up and close in the auditorium," Albrecht said. "That's where the steel crew is working. Then, they'll come back up from A to F and detail that all out, so they can finish that up and hopefully get out of here."

Masonry work is being done on the building's second floor, which will serve the school's seventh- and eighth-graders. Interior block walls are being finished. Drywall and metal studs are being installed in building A, Albrecht said.

"They're starting to put in all the backing for our marker boards and our tack boards," he said.

The shell was able to go up more quickly than expected due to better-than-expected weather throughout the winter, Albrecht said. That allowed interior work, such as installing stairwells and pouring floors, to take place.

Already the floors for the second story are poured, as well as most of the first story floors. The hallway, gymnasium and cafeteria will be poured next.

"Today they poured the media center floor, which is in north B," Albrecht said Friday.

Not only does the building have a skeleton, it has blood, as well.

"They're working on all the conduits. They have the permanent power from our transformer into our permanent electrical rooms," Albrecht said. "They've been running all the subpower to all the different panels, that's going on right now."

Albrecht said he was "very pleased" with the way construction was going.

"CSI (Construction Services Inc.) has been doing a great job here on site, keeping track of everybody and getting us all moving along," he said.

Doug Van Zyl, as FDCSD superintendent, visits the site routinely and said he thinks the construction is "going great."

"The crews we have on site and the company we have managing it are doing a great job," he said. "Every day I'm out here I'm surprised how much has actually been accomplished. Every day, something changes."

Van Zyl said the project will be a great benefit for the district. The project's $32 million price is less than the cost of renovating Fair Oaks and Phillips Middle schools, both of which are 70- to 80-year-old buildings, and will give Fort Dodge's students a state-of-the-art facility.

"It's a win-win for the district," Van Zyl said. "It's been a great experience, great opportunity, not only for myself but for the community. It's been a great process. We've been working with some great folks."

The project, while progressing, will not be completed until summer 2013 for the 2013-2014 school year.

"Right now, CSI is very hopeful they'll be done February, March range of 2013," Albrecht said.

Contact Brandon L. Summers at (515) 573-2141 or



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