The next four weeks will be very busy for workers at Munger Mountain Elementary School.
Teton County School District No. 1’s newest building is barreling toward the beginning of school on Sept. 4. It will be ready for hundreds of kindergarten through fifth grade dual immersion students by then, but there’s a lot to get done in the coming days.
“We’re sprinting to the finish,” said J.D. Simmons of GE Johnson Construction Company. “But we’ve got plenty of time. There’s still a month.”
The teacher, parent and visitor parking lot, currently graded dirt, will be paved later this week, along with additional roads on the site. A playfield will exist between the parking lot and the highway, but grass won’t be planted there until the fall. On a News&Guide site visit on Tuesday, workers were busy all around the campus, making a basketball court, soon to be installing play equipment and getting ready to lay the topsoil needed for landscaping to go in.
When asked if the school would open on time, Assistant Superintendent of Operations Jeff Daugherty said, “Oh, absolutely.”
“Our biggest concern was with the landscaping and the site work,” he said. “But we have 20 landscapers out there right now, and they’re installing all the irrigation this week, and then they’ll start planting next week. We consider that a non-critical element.”
There’s running water and working plumbing in the school. On Tuesday various systems, like air, were being tested. Brand-new cafeteria equipment is in place, ready to be hooked up.
What won’t be done by the first day of class is the construction on Highway 89 south of town. Parents and school buses will likely need to budget a few extra minutes for the project, which isn’t slated to be complete until next summer.
School district construction documents show the school’s progress at roughly 80 percent. Crews broke ground in March 2017 and now the 77,000-square-foot building with a $23.7 million contract is nearly complete. Final touchups, floor finishes, Wi-Fi installation and tile grouting are all taking place now.
The timeline, Simmons said, is “pretty aggressive.” He’s happy with the pace and how quickly the school has come together. Since many classrooms are identical, the repetition made the upper floor — grades 3 through 5 — move faster than the kindergarten, first- and second-grade wing downstairs that’s considered “substantially done” along with the administration cluster.
The rooms, for the most part, are ready for the furniture, fixtures and equipment that make a classroom look like a classroom. Those are scheduled to be delivered Monday. Some areas are locked off until that day to keep things pristine while “punch list” items, like nicks in the paint, are taken care of.
Teachers will be moving their supplies into rooms after Aug. 29, when the “substantial delivery date” or completion date is set.
“That basically means we take the keys on that day,” Daugherty said. “This has been a phenomenal process.”
Sept. 28 is the final completion date for all odds and ends, and an official ribbon-cutting ceremony is planned for September.