Orchard Hill Remodel in CF Exceeds Contingency; Supt. Says Some Architects’ Drawings Inaccurate

CEDAR FALLS — Builders are encountering a number of unanticipated construction issues in remodeling Orchard Hill Elementary School  in Cedar Falls that are adding more than $80,000 to the project.     The School Board last(Mon) night approved change orders for 12 separate issues that will add $84,934 to the $10 million-plus building contract.   Those costs are being added after the $100,000 in contingency funds included for the project already have been used on other changes. Before contingency funds were spent, the building contract for an addition and renovations had totaled $10.2 million.

At the low end, board approved changes include adding piping from a kitchen eye wash station to a floor sink at a cost of $649. At the high end, a preschool classroom wall needs to be replaced at a cost of $33,584.   Channer said the Black Hawk County Health Department wanted the eye wash piping change based on a different interpretation of Iowa Code requirements. The wall is being replaced over stability concerns, he noted. After an adjacent addition on the existing principal’s office was demolished, workers discovered a large opening framed in with wood considered structurally problematic.     In between are limited roof and floor problems, walls that need to be built out or repaired for various reasons, additions of insulation and emergency lighting, an upgrade to the kiln’s exhaust system for the art room, and issues with various mechanical systems. Those relate to heating, electricity and water pressure.

Because workers didn’t encounter many problems in past remodeling at the school, the contingency dollars were limited. Renovation work being done at North Cedar Elementary School, on the other hand, includes a $250,000 contingency fund.   Superintendent Andy Pattee said some of the problems relate to architect’s drawings of the existing building that “just weren’t accurate.”