SOUDERTON — Final work on the multi-year construction project at E. Merton Crouthamel Elementary School still has to be completed, but that work should be done in plenty of time for classes to re-start on schedule in the fall, the district says.
During the current school year, the start of classes was pushed back because of the work.
The school was issued a temporary occupancy permit, but that expired the end of March, Steve Toy, Souderton's code enforcement officer, told Souderton Borough Council at its April 15 work session meeting.
Another temporary permit is being issued allowing the building to be used until the end of the school year, but after that, it won't be able to be occupied until the construction work and inspections of that work are completed, he said.
"There's still some stuff hanging around," Toy said.
None of the remaining items involve life safety issues, he said.
The phased project was originally scheduled to be completed in two years.
"They had a lot of weather issues, like we all did," Toy said. "That's why they had the temporary, but now we're going on year three, and it's still not 100 percent complete."
Council President Brian Goshow said the borough has worked with the school district both on construction and traffic issues during the project.
"We've done what we can to make this project go," he said.
"I don't really feel like we're playing hardball," he said of council's agreement that the temporary occupancy permit not be extended beyond the end of the school year.
"I kind of feel like in a way we're just kind of saying, 'Let's make sure this thing happens,'" Goshow said. "Let's get this thing ramped up."
The work is essentially complete, Souderton Area School District Superintendent Dr. Frank Gallagher said in a phone interview for this article.
"We're just working on punch list items," he said.
That includes things such as line painting for the parking lot and inspections being completed to make sure that Americans with Disabilities Act items in the building have been properly designed and constructed, "which they are," Gallagher said.
The work is the first major renovation at EMC since it was built in 1962 and added to seven years later, the district said during the planning stages of the $13.3 million project. The school did not have enough space for current educational programs, leading to closets, hallways and the principal's office being turned into teaching space, the information said. Modulars, which the new construction allowed to be removed, were added in 1993 and 1998.
The additional space from the current project also allows the school to have a separate gymnasium and cafeteria instead of the same space being used for both the cafeteria and gym, as previously happened.