Deep frost means delay at Sheffield

The elementary school addition at the current site of the Sheffield Area Middle High School will not be completed in time for the K-12 facility to open for the beginning of the 2014-2015 school year as expected.

Instead, students will remain at Allegheny Valley Elementary School in Clarendon likely through the first semester of the upcoming school year, according to Warren County School District officials.

Dr. Norbert Kennerknecht, district director of buildings and grounds, informed members of the school board’s Physical Plant and Facilities Committee at Monday evening’s meeting that the project architect has informed him that construction should cease for 30 to 60 days to allow for the ground to thaw.

Citing a letter from the architect, Kennerknecht said that unfavorable weather conditions and the low temperatures of this current winter have resulted in the architects advocating for the “suspension of work due to unfavorable conditions” at the site.

The letter stated that, until the relative humidity can be controlled at the site, the architects are concerned about moisture entrapment that could cause future problems, especially with the interior finish work.

Kennerknecht said there is four feet of frost under the concrete slab at this time and that the district “does not want to put any finish materials in there.”

The result?

The anticipated occupancy of the building over the summer will be unable to be met.

The architects stated that they realize “this is not an ideal situation” but noted that the delay is in the “best interest of the occupants” to ensure a quality project is finished without moisture concerns.

“It was a tough winter,” said Kennerknecht. “It is still below freezing. (We) didn’t get a roof on the facility because of the weather until last week. Up until this time, however cold it was outside it was inside.”

Kennerknecht said that this was “not something we took lightly” and noted that it “all comes back to quality.”

He noted that this will be considered a “no cost change order.”