A construction worker works on the roof of the I.J. Holton Intermediate School Friday afternoon. -- Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

Archived Story

Constructing education: Work on schedule for Holton intermediate school

Published 10:41am Monday, January 7, 2013

Months before the pitter-patter of hundreds of feet en route to class fill the halls of Austin’s newest school, a small army of construction workers are busy putting those halls together.

Work progresses on the I.J. Holton school.

At any given time, 60-70 workers are on-site at what is soon to be I.J. Holton intermediate school, where all public fifth- and sixth-grade students will attend school starting in August. Mat Miller, director of facility services with Austin Public Schools, said the building is where it should be.

“Generally, we’re about 50 percent complete as far as the construction schedule is concerned,” Miller said.

It will take another two or three months until the interior starts to resemble a school rather than a construction site. Utilities like duct work, heating piping and domestic water piping will go in first, followed by doors and carpets.

“It will just depend on how fast they’re able to get sheetrock done,” Miller said, adding there are already steel studs in the walls.

Preliminary furniture plans are still a long way off, and likely will not start until mid-July.

But the building could come to resemble a school sooner on the outside. Crews are starting to lay brick around the outside walls and put windows in place.

What snow Austin has seen this season largely fell on a covered structure, and workers looking to continue their work on the roof only had to shovel it off. Inside, temporary heating systems keep temperatures above freezing so crews can make progress.

“If anything, the weather that we’ve had so far has helped us,” Miller said.

The gym and cafeteria are the only parts of the building that still lack a roof.

The Holton school’s principal, Jean McDermott, said in late December she had taken a tour through the construction site and was excited to see the rooms coming together.

“You get a real notion for what the size and the capacity of the building is going to be,” McDermott said.

While many parents have expressed interest in touring the school before classes start, construction and other preparations will last up until students arrive. McDermott said there are tentative plans to hold an event closer to late September.

“We’re shooting for maybe Homecoming week,” she said.

While there are already five or six dozen workers on-site at a time, Miller said, that number will likely increase as the months tick down to the new school year.

“There’s a lot of work to get done, but there’s a lot that’s been done,” he said.

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