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Armstrong school construction on schedule a year from opening

| Friday, Aug. 15, 2014, 1:01 a.m.
Louis B. Ruediger | TRIB TOTAL MEDIA
A stairwell at the Armstrong Junior-Senior High School that's under construction shows a view of the valley in Manor. Thursday August 14, 2014

An unusually harsh winter followed by a rainy spring and summer has not slowed construction of Armstrong Junior-Senior High School that is on schedule to open in Manor next year.

“It's very good ground up there,” said Steve Reckhart of Reynolds Construction. “With the amount of rain we've had, you'd think it'd be a mud hole. But luckily, it all dried up pretty well.”

Crews are at the halfway point for construction of the $55 million project on Buffington Drive that will consolidate about 1,775 students from middle and high schools in Ford City and Kittanning.

Most of the building's outer walls are standing, and windows and decorative bricks are being installed. Inside, contractors are nearly done putting in ventilation, electrical and plumbing systems.

“We're buttoning up the building and should have it completely enclosed by mid-September,” project manager Roshelle Fennel said. “We're confident this will be done next summer and ready for the start of school.”

The 270,600-square-foot building will include a three-story senior high school wing, a two-story junior high wing, a library, a music and arts wing, two cafeterias, two gymnasiums with locker rooms, a 1,000-seat auditorium and administrative and guidance suites. The buildings will surround an outdoor courtyard.

Roofs have been built over almost every section of the building. Crews are finishing work on the courtyard before putting the roof on the library on the northern end of site.

“The majority of it inside of the courtyard is done,” Reckhart said. “We're really focusing in on the courtyard so we can get the library done before the winter.”

The school is scheduled to be finished in June, but the goal now is to complete all exterior work in the summer and fall.

“We want to have the entire building water-tight for the winter,” Fennel said.

School board Vice President Chris Choncek said he wants to allow the public to visit the building during construction.

“We get a lot of questions about the school,” he said. “There is a lot of curiosity surrounding the building.”

Reckhart said public viewing of the construction site likely would not happen until after parking lots and sidewalks are finished.

“We're thinking sometime in early October would be a good time for public visits,” he said.

Brad Pedersen is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-543-1303, ext. 1337, or bpedersen@tribweb.com.

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