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home : news : news   May 24, 2016

11/30/2013 5:50:00 AM
JFK School: It's beginning to look a lot like a building

A construction worker grinds a beam on the gym floor of John F. Kennedy School in Spring Valley. Crews will work on the interior of the building during the winter in order to have the facility ready by July. NewsTribune photo/Scott Anderson
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A construction worker grinds a beam on the gym floor of John F. Kennedy School in Spring Valley. Crews will work on the interior of the building during the winter in order to have the facility ready by July.

NewsTribune photo/Scott Anderson
Alicia LeGrand-Riniker
NewsTribune Reporter

What the Spring Valley Elementary School wants most for Christmas is a 100 percent enclosed addition building.

Every Tuesday at 10 a.m. construction leaders, members of the design team and school officials meet to discuss that goal. The meetings are lead by Phil Heppard and Chris Rossman from Williams Brothers Construction, Peoria Heights, general contractor for the project. Heppard and Rossman go over the schedule, keep tract of changes, hear concerns from other subcontractors and try to keep the project flowing smoothly.

Now the biggest concern is getting the building completely enclosed before it gets too cold and snowy outside. With the current cool weather pattern, things have not been easy.

“We didn’t get a true fall,” said superintendent Jim Hermes, adding the weather went from warm to cold quickly.

Hermes said not getting the building enclosed will affect the areas of the school the contractors can work on over the winter. Windows, roofing and precast walls need to be in place in order to keep the cold winter out and allow the school to heat the inside of the building so workers can continue on the inside.

“The roofing is going systematically through the building,” said Rossman. “The rain affected us here and there.”

Rossman said the cold has slowed down the masonry work. Though the project may be a few days behind, Rossman remains confident that the building will be 100 percent complete by July 14, 2014. So far the building is nearly half way there, said Hermes.

The south side of the building which includes the gym and administration will be enclosed by tomorrow, said Rossman. By Tuesday, the contractors hope to have some heat going. The north half which houses all the classrooms may not be finished until mid-December.
“We have been fighting through the weather we had this month and getting what we need done,” said Rossman.

He said the unique part of the job which also made it difficult was that construction started in June. Usually constriction projects start in February or March, said Rossman. He said the precast walls really helped getting the building put together.

“Otherwise we would be a metal skeleton waiting on blocks. The due date would be unobtainable that way,” he said.

At the meeting, Heppard already started talking about interior décor, including color designs for the flooring and walls. The school board approved a color scheme for the gym bleachers at last Wednesday’s board meeting. This will include the school colors with the custom Kelly Green placed in a design spelling out “JFK” on both sides.

As construction continues, the board is keeping an eye on its “wish list,” including more lighting and curtains for the stage area and a bigger parking lot. The number one item on the list is air conditioning in the existing school building.

Rossman said the building will be a great addition to the community. He said the process has been going smoothly so far as all members of the team work together to complete the project.

“I think everyone has a good working relationship here and it has helped a bunch,” he said.

Alicia LeGrand-Riniker can be reached at (815) 220-6931 or

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