M-CHS building project on schedule

School expected to open in 2015

Construction on the $33.7 million Montezuma-Cortez High School is on schedule. The new two-story 152,500-square-foot schoolhouse is expected to open in fall 2015.

Senior project manager Rick Fleming of Nunn Construction provided school board members with a production update this week, saying the site changes on a daily basis. According to Fleming, most of the underground plumbing was nearly completed, about three-quarters of the concrete slabs poured, structural steel was being erected and crews were expected to start enclosing the building with exterior walls within weeks.

“That’s a quick and dirty look of what’s going on,” said Fleming.

One of the more intriguing aspects of the project that Fleming highlighted was the use of some 21st century technology. He said two-dimensional architectural plans were converted into digital three-dimensional color coordinated models, providing plumbing, HVAC and electrical crews, for example, with an inside peek into the architectural plans.

“The tape measures and string lines have been replaced,” said Fleming. “Now there’s lots of people on site walking around with iPads.”

Able to dissect the structure at any point, Fleming said the 3-D models have saved time and headaches.

“It’s tremendous what we can do,” he said.

Mike Sibo, a digital consultant for Nunn Construction, added that the technology helps to reduce onsite conflicts by half, estimating the school project could potentially have up to 150. A conflict, for example, could involve a plumber who had to install a pipe around a steel beam.

“It’s so much more efficient,” said Sibo.

Sibo said the technology also improved on-site safety, and allowed subcontractors to conduct off-site manufacturing.

Available to mechanical and structural trades for the past decade, the evolutionary 3-D technology has ramped up construction projects in the past three to five years, said Fleming. The greatest learning curve involves training construction crews.

“Once they see it, they’re like, Wow,” said Fleming. “It makes life a lot easier.”

According to school officials, the total project, slightly more than $41 million, includes the purchase of the 35-acre property south of Wal-Mart, architectural designs, legal fees and construction costs.

A $22.7 million Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST) grant is funding 52 percent of total cost, and a voter approved November 2012 bond issue picks up the remaining tab.

The project was forecast to have a $63 million economic impact locally, creating more than 400 construction jobs.

The current high school, constructed in 1967, is expected to be demolished.

A link to weekly high school construction updates is available at www.cortez.k12.co.us.