New PHS wing ‘must’ open by fall

Shelby County Schools Assistant Superintendent Tom Ferguson said a new wing at Pelham High School "must" be completed by the time school starts in August. Work on the wing was halted in late 2011 after the county school board terminated its contract with the original builder. (File)

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

The Shelby County School System “must have” a partially constructed new wing at Pelham High School completed by the time school starts for the fall 2012 semester, Assistant Superintendent Tom Ferguson said Jan. 31.

The new nine-classroom wing, which is being built on the southwest corner of the PHS campus, was originally scheduled to be completed in October 2011.

However, the Shelby County School Board in November 2011 terminated its contract with the construction company originally handing the project because of construction delays, Shelby County Schools spokeswoman Cindy Warner said previously.

After the school board terminated its contract with the company, the project was picked up by the bonding company. Currently, the bonding company is looking at several potential contractors to complete the project, Ferguson said.

“They (the bonding company) are responsible for completing the project. They need to determine the percent of completion, if subcontractors are still owed for work they did and several other items,” Ferguson said. “That investigation can last over a 30- or 45-day period.

“Hopefully, we will get someone we have worked with in the past,” Ferguson added.

The new wing currently is about 55 percent complete, but many of the major components, such as the heating and cooling systems, have already been installed, Ferguson said. He said a new contractor likely “could get in there and finish it pretty quickly.”

“We have made it known that we have got to have that wing complete by next fall, and they are well aware of that. The number of students is growing,” Ferguson said. “As far as the current school year, there shouldn’t be any changes. They are already in the mode of working around that construction.”