Phase one of Brookfield School project nearing completion: New school to open in Pocket area this fall
Both Dwayne Taylor, project superintendent, and Joe Giger, project manager, took breaks from their busy schedules last week to share details about the project with this publication.
Prior to discussing the project, which is being performed by the Rancho Cordova-based DesCor Builders, Taylor strolled across the extremely dusty grounds of the new school site.
In commenting about that powdery layer of silt, Taylor, who is a resident of Rocklin, said, “It’s been crazy. It’s been really hard to manage, because when you get it wet, it turns into snot, just slippery and it sticks to everything and you can’t drive on it. But after a good rain and it has actually had a chance to dry, then it kind of shrinks and solidifies. But as soon as you drive on it or walk on it, it breaks up and turns to ‘moon dust’ again.”
Taylor spoke with a confident and proud tone to his voice while he discussed the progress of the work that has been performed on the site since the project began last March. However, he admitted that some days have been more productive than other days.
“We’re still trying to cram a square block in a round hole,” Taylor said. “We have a really ridged, fast-paced schedule, and its construction. You know, not everything goes as we would like or we would hope. While we’re moving full speed ahead, occasionally we have to go backward and sidestep. So, it just adds to the schedule. It may appear on the outside that we’re moving forward. Sometimes we’re not. We have our complications, but sometimes that’s part of the fun. I enjoy a certain level of chaos.”
After being asked to name the most challenging part of the project, Taylor said, “It would probably be the framing. It’s a wood frame, so it’s like residential, but it’s commercial. In order for it to be structurally sound, there’s a lot of timber in these walls – a lot of posts and oversized studs, headers. Everything is oversized and overbuilt, because it’s commercial and it’s all wood.”
Taylor said that he feels fortunate to have been presented with a group of quality workers.
“We’ve been really lucky and got a good group of guys on this project,” Taylor said. “I think because of the pace and speed of the project, some of the subcontractors had to send some of their better guys out. We didn’t have a relaxed environment, so they could send out some more relaxed people. The quality (of labor) has been where it needs to be for a school (construction project), which is at a slightly higher level of quality for safety and things like that.”
Several of the workers, Taylor added, did receive a few complaints from residential neighbors.
“Some of the guys get a little too anxious and they start earlier in the morning before our 7 a.m. start time,” Taylor said.
Construction on the site was originally performed Mondays through Saturdays from 7 a.m. to either 4 or 5 p.m., but by June that schedule was decreased to the present Monday through Friday schedule, with the same hours.
In discussing the topic of the future school’s other neighbor – The Trap, and some of its owners’ concern with a school being built next to a bar – Taylor said, “I think they were just trying to bring attention to themselves and the project, and when that didn’t go their way, then they quieted down. But they’ve been great. They’ve been great neighbors.”
Taylor said that there is a possibility that the entire Brookfield School project may not be completed for about five more years.
“Phase two (which will feature a pre-K building and an all purpose/community center building) is funding driven, so as enrollment increases in the school, then that will help create the phase two budget,” Taylor said. “So, right now, it’s unknown whether it’s a year or five years (until phase two can be commenced).”
During his interview with the Pocket News, Giger, who is a resident of Carmichael, mainly focused on reviewing phase one of the project.
“Phase one is (the) administration building, (a) bunch of classrooms, computer rooms, science rooms, a lot of natural lights,” Giger said. “These classrooms have a ton of windows, both skylights, as well as ephemeral walls. They also have a pretty unique system called the night flush system that’s an energy efficient cooling system. There are a total of seven structures.”
Giger, who also manages the project with Placerville resident Colin Culver, project engineer, said that on average, about 60 people have been working on the site during the past five months. These workers have performed such labors as grading, concrete and framing work to drywall, painting and mechanical work.
In presenting a timeline of activities of the project, Giger began by saying that in March “there was a lot of clearing and grubbing and a lot of land leveling work, followed by a lot of underground utilities” work.
Giger added that water, sewer, storm drain and electrical infrastructures were added to the property, which he referred to as having been a “raw piece of land.”
After the utility work was completed in late April, cement was poured for the foundations of the buildings.
Giger noted that workers “prefabed the walls” for the project’s phase one buildings.
“We had a lay down area out here (where) we built every single wall before the (cement) was even poured,” Giger said. “Two days later, we were on it erecting walls, and the walls were already built, laying down on the ground. So, that was how we were able to expedite. If we were to just go once the flat is built and build every wall, we would still be in framing stages.”
After the walls were completely secured in their upright positions in either late May or early June, roofs were constructed above those walls from June through July.
The next step of the project was to begin the interior work such as electrical, mechanical, and plumbing additions.
Giger, who referred to that portion of the project as the “roughing stage,” said that stage has been completed, and workers are presently at the “finishes stage,” which consists of drywall work and painting.
During his interview for this article, Taylor mentioned that the exterior of the building will be painted in a variety of colors, with the main colors being red, blue and off white.
Beneficial to workers, as well as nearby neighbors, was the laying of asphalt driveways and parking areas on the corner of the site behind The Trap in late July. The presence of asphalt in that area eliminated any future possibilities of the stirring up of “moon dust” on that portion of the grounds.
To complete the project, workers will also perform T-bar work on the ceilings, grind and paint the concrete floors and add landscaping to the grounds. The irrigation system, which is necessary for the landscaping has already been added to the site, Giger said.
The addition of plants and trees at the site is scheduled to begin in about two weeks.
The current construction project, Giger noted last week, was then “roughly a month” away from completion.
After that work is completed, off-site improvements, including the installation of a traffic light at 43rd Avenue and Riverside Boulevard and a sidewalk on the street sides of the school, will begin.
In reviewing Brookfield School’s phase one project as a whole, Giger said, “The architects have done a very cool, open design with a single-pitched roof. It’s very modern, as well. The quality of the work has been great and (the Pocket area will soon have) a nice, fresh, brand new, state-of-the-art school.”