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Construction progresses at Morris Area High School

A skid steer sits in a main hallway of Morris Area High School during construction. Rae Yost/Stevens County Times1 / 2
Contractors are digging in a main hallway of Morris Area High School so that new sewer pipes can be installed. Rae Yost/Stevens County Times.2 / 2

A main hallway in Morris Area High School resembles a street under construction.

Just like when asphalt or concrete is dug up on a street, a construction crew has dug up the hallway floor, and the dirt underneath remains. A construction crew has also dug a trench so that new PVC sanitary sewer pipes can be installed. A new floor will eventually be installed over the pipes.

On the afternoon of Monday, July 9, a construction worker was digging in the trench. A skid steer sat on one side of the torn-up hallway while a second skid steer was in the doorway of another hallway.

Construction is progressing very well on the first phase of the school district's $19.2 million facilities improvement project, superintendent Rick Lahn said.

"They had to jackhammer the hallway floors and get it down to dirt," Lahn said.

The district is replacing severely damaged sanitary sewer pipes in the high school. The old pipes are corroded. Parts of some pipes have cracked and leaked. Those old pipes will be abandoned once new pipes have been installed, Lahn said.

It's too expensive and impractical to remove the old sewer pipes, Lahn said.

Lahn said the construction is ahead of schedule. There has been only a minor hitch so far, he said: Some of the electrical work was installed under the floor when the high school was built in the 1970s.

"When they were cutting out the concrete they hit (electrical work)," Lahn said. "We had to kill the electricity until the concrete was cut out." The school operated on a generator during that time, he said.

While contractors are busy with sewer work, other contractors are busy inside the school's auditorium. As of July 9, the seats had been removed from the auditorium. Auditorium work also includes lighting upgrades and planned changes to the stage.

The construction in the hallway is expected to be completed before school starts in the fall of 2018.

"We're very pleased with the progress," Lahn said.

Winkelman Building Corporation is serving as the construction manager. Several different subcontractors are completing different pieces of the project.