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Hugh Mercer Elementary work behind, but Fredericksburg hopes for spring catch-up

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The Hugh Mercer Elementary School expansion project has had a couple of hiccups that have put the project about a month behind schedule.

But Robert Burch, the Fredericksburg school system’s director of operations, is not worried. He said the work will be completed and the project will be back on schedule by the second week of May.

One of the delays happened while the students were on Christmas break. Workers discovered an existing concrete fixture coming from the school while they were trying to install the sanitary sewer system for the new addition. Burch said they discovered another sanitary sewer outlet from the original building that didn’t show up on the plans.

“They had to go back to the drawing board and come up with a way to deal with that,” he said.

The work cannot happen when the students are in school because part of the bus route has to be torn up, so it will have to be done over spring break in April. Burch said the contractor hopes to make up a lot of the lost time during that week when school is out.

“The work hasn’t been a hindrance at all. If anything, it has been a learning experience for the kids,” said Hugh Mercer Principal Marjorie Tankersley. “They get to see how a building is constructed and the process from start to finish.”

Bad weather this winter has delayed roofing work. The addition needs to be enclosed and roofed before work can begin on the interior.

“We should be under a roof and dry right now and we are not. Right now they are still struggling to get the ice off the roof,” Burch said last week.

The elementary school off Cowan Boulevard currently covers 114,900 square feet.

The expansion will allow the school to keep up with the city’s increasing population.

The elementary school was built for 800 to 825 students, but this year had closer to 900 enrolled, with more children expected in the future.

The addition will add another 10,800 square feet, providing six classrooms for second-graders, two resource rooms, one special education room, a teacher workroom, an office for an assistant principal and two restrooms.

The project is estimated to cost a total of $2.5 million and should be completed by August.

Jessica Koers: 540/374-5444

jkoers@freelancestar.com

Robyn Sidersky contributed to this story.

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