September 23, 2011


Homer High repaving cost swells to $250K

District hit with 100-fold increase in price after crews discover drainage problems, damage

HomerBob Ellis/staff photographer
A load of stone is dumped Wednesday afternoon in the Homer High School parking lot off Center Street. Workers are preparing the base and installing drainage tile prior to paving it with asphalt. The $250,000 project was originally expected to cost $2,500.

Staff Reporter

HOMER — A routine resurfacing job at Homer High School has ballooned into a $250,000 construction project.
The job originally called for the north parking lot to be resurfaced on the last weekend in August, in time for the start of the school year. The lot is one of two main parking lots with spaces for over 130 cars. But when work crews tore up the surface layer, they found that the subsurface had extensive damage, said Homer Superintendent Nancy Ruscio.
That meant the entire lot had to be torn up and rebuilt. It also meant the district had to scramble to find parking for students and staff who were assigned to the lot.
“There was never any drainage put in the lot, so the water pooled and drew the clay up from the ground, causing the damage,” Ruscio said.
The extended construction pushed the price tag up from about $2,500 to over $250,000. The district is using leftover money from the last capital project and money from the debt service fund to pay for it, Ruscio said.
“This money isn’t coming out of the regular budget,” she said.
The reconstruction of the lot has been contracted out to Ruston Paving Company. That company won the bid for the resurfacing job and when the damage was discovered, the project just became an extension of the original bid, Ruscio said.
If the weather cooperates, the lot should reopen by Tuesday, Ruscio said.
Teachers who were assigned to the north lot have been moved to St. Margaret’s Church parking lot and students have been asked to park at the Elks Club. Both are located on Copeland Avenue, about three-quarters of a mile from the school.
The district set up a shuttle that runs every 15 minutes from the south parking lot to Copeland Avenue to ease the commute.
Gerald Neuman, a substitute bus driver, has been running the morning shuttle. About 30 to 40 teachers and a few students ride the shuttle each day, he said.
“The teachers have been pretty understanding about it,” he said. “The students have skipped the shuttle business, I think they’ve been parking on the streets.”
Having a new parking lot is worth the morning hassle for Stephany Reif, a ninth and 10th grade global studies teacher at the school.
“I knew it would be a hassle but that (north) lot was really bad, especially in the winter,” she said.


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