Construction continues at several Sioux Falls schools just weeks before the new school year Original
Back To School

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO)– Construction is underway at several Sioux Falls schools, with some projects expected to be completed by the start of the school year.

Jeff Kreiter, Director of Operational Services, said the two major projects that will be completed by the start of school, which is August 26, are Jefferson High School and Ben Reifel Middle School. Both of those schools will be having open houses next week.

“Those are coming together real well and we will be ready to go,” Kreiter said.

However, some of the projects are delayed because of building supply shortages.

“We have really worked hard at not getting ahead of ourselves so we can still have school and still finish these up as school is going on,” he said. “With the logistics of materials and what not, it’s just an ongoing thing that I’ve never seen before in 30 years, but we’re managing and we will be there.”

The ceiling in exterior bathroom project at Lincoln High School

There are many factors that go into why some of the projects are getting delayed including the pandemic, shipping, steel prices, not unloading things in the shipping ports and more, he said.

At Lincoln High School, they are building an exterior bathroom, but they will not be able to get the roofing insulation until after the start of school, Kreiter said.

Some of the other projects, including work at Jane Addams Elementary, probably won’t be done in August like it was originally scheduled to be completed, but it will be close to done, he said. Some of the pieces of the project, such as the play structure, will not arrive until September.

There are some projects that are scheduled to take longer than a year, such as the one at Cleveland Elementary.

“But the contractor has really done a good job at getting the windows in, getting ahead of the game. We should be great,” he said.

The kids at the schools will be isolated from the work sites, Kreiter said. They fence out the sites so children will not be exposed to anything dangerous.

Fenced off construction site at Lincoln High School

“We work hard at trying to keep the kids safe while we’re working together,” he said.

As far as construction noise goes, they try to limit the louder portions of the project until school is out or on the weekends, Kreiter said.

“Number one is education and we’ll shut down those kind of operations if it’s impacting the classroom,” he said.

With school starting in just a little over three weeks, they are working hard to get some of these projects completed. They are also starting to see principals returning and teachers will be getting back to the classroom in the next week or two.

“We’ve got things like floor tile that are just going to arrive here in the next week or so,” he said. “You don’t need floor tile to have school, but we sure would like to have them all done.”

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