Work on Merced's third high school is about 30 percent complete and a month ahead of schedule, thanks to a mild winter.
Six of the nine buildings planned for the 58-acre El Capitan High School campus near G Street, Barclay and Farmland avenues have been framed and representatives of the contractor vow to complete the project by the June 2013 deadline.
Michael Conley of Merced, project manager for Fresno-based contractor Bernards, said every day something new goes up and the site is looking more and more like a school.
Conley said the company maintains an aggressive schedule and has commitments from all contractors to complete the job on time.
Michael Belluomini, director of facilities planning for the Merced Union High School District, said every building except the shop building, administration office and special education wing are at least steel framed. The buildings take up 12 acres of the sprawling complex.
On the three buildings fronting G Street, interior walls are framed and staircases have been built, Belluomini said. Seats have been framed for the 400-seat performing arts theater and the practice gym and main gym have been framed.
Conley said 100 to 120 workers are on site daily and more than 50 construction firms are working. Bernards is exceeding the 51 percent requirement that the project involve local contractors. Among them are Modern Air Mechanical, Johnson Plumbing, Artisan Construction, Meehan Construction, K + M Welding and Commercial Construction. Local vendors Bright-Dart, Action Computers, CVT Trucking, Valley Business Center and Builders Concrete also are contributing, Conley said.
Travis Kirk, the district's capital facilities program manager, said enthusiasm throughout the community is growing for the future high school.
"It's going fantastic," Kirk said. "We have benefited greatly from the mild winter and the contractor has sequenced work that allowed them to be prepared for wet weather."
The school is scheduled to open for ninth- and 10th-grade students in August 2013 with construction winding up in June. The nine buildings total 200,000 square feet of floor area.
The imposing, two-story library and classroom wing tower over what will become the quad area. The school's 82 classrooms will accommodate 2,200 students, Belluomini said.
A 2,000-foot section of G Street between Bellevue Road and Farmland Avenue will be upgraded this summer to four lanes with a center turn lane. On the school side of the road, there will be sidewalks, landscaping, curbs, gutters and a bike path.
El Capitan High School will cost about $90 million. Measure M bonds are paying $45 million and the state kicked in $37 million.
Belluomini said El Capitan buildings include a science wing with 18 full labs, the library and student body office, a graphic arts studio, two gyms and locker rooms, a cafeteria, theater, agriculture shop and greenhouse, administration office and special education wing.
Wireless hubs will be located throughout the campus. Using laptop computers, El Capitan students will be able to connect with the computer network at various points around the campus.
The campus features highly insulated and energy-efficient buildings. For its energy conservation plans, the district received a $500,000 state grant.
Reporter Doane Yawger can be reached at (209) 385-2407 or firstname.lastname@example.org.