Problems with under-floor utilities added to kitchen redo
By Jennifer Eisenbart
When the Burlington Area School District decided to use surplus funds to remodel the Dyer Intermediate School kitchen last year, little did officials know the journey they were about to undertake.
The project came in roughly $25,000 over budget, but in light of everything that was discovered in the course of the project, Buildings and Grounds supervisor Gary Olsen felt the district got lucky.
“I’m confident we did a good job with the project,” said Olsen, who did a 30-minute presentation on the work that started in June of 2012 and wrapped up just before school started last September.
The original idea was to use surplus funds from the food service account – funds that had to be used on food service projects – to replace a freezer at Dyer and remodel part of the existing kitchen.
The plan was to remove a wall separating the kitchen from a small, unused classroom and expand into that space, and in the process even out the floor.
However, as soon as the construction crews began trying to saw through the concrete floor, they discovered electrical conduit underneath – butting right up against the concrete.
Since drawings from the original work (in 1969) didn’t indicate where the circuitry went in the building, the district decided to only tear up what parts it needed to of the floor.
The construction crews also discovered that the drain system in the kitchen had, at some point, completely rotted out. Fortunately for the district, it was only under the kitchen – where, Olsen said, the pipe had rotted out and instead of the water contaminating the ground underneath, the grease and other silt from the kitchen created a natural barrier that kept the water moving toward the pipe.
Olsen said the district got lucky, in that only that small section of the piping rotted. It could have rotted along the entire pipe, which runs from the kitchen, all along the first floor of Dyer Intermediate and then out to the street.
“If we had to open that entire terrazzo floor,” Olsen said, “it would’ve added thousands to the project.”
Once resolving the piping issue, workers needed to thread the new piping along the electrical conduit, and then even out the floor – and then do the remodel of the kitchen with the new freezer and dishwasher.
The end product, Olsen said, created a more open cafeteria space. In addition, he said it’s almost impossible to tell where they had to pull up and replace the terrazzo floor.
“If you’re not really looking for it, you won’t see we did a patch on the floor,” Olsen said.
In all, the total cost for the project was $240,815 – about $25,000 above the budgeted amount of $216,004. All the money for the project came out of food service fund, Olsen said.
“I’m confident we did a good job on the project,” he said, adding that all of the kitchens in the schools – with the exception of Cooper – are up to date.
“We’re not looking at this kind of significant renovation,” Olsen said of the work needing to be done at Cooper.