By Rich Place

Although it was summer vacation at Springville these past few months, the activity around the school campuses told a different story, as officials said an average of about 80 workers were on site daily just to work on the capital project.

The goal was to get major portions of it completed by the first day of classes on Tuesday and ensure Pop Warner Field would be ready for the first varsity home football game on Friday.

Mission accomplished, even if it meant wrapping up those items in the days leading up to Labor Day weekend.

“Seriously, they were doing some things this weekend as well,” said Superintendent Kimberly Moritz about when major aspects of the project were completed. “We were paving and striping (parking lots) on Friday.”

The work completed over the summer as part of the project — deemed Phase 1B after roof work in Phase 1A was completed last year — was highlighted by the new track facility that includes a new Pop Warner Field sign, a relocated scoreboard, new press box and new fencing.

Michael Perkins, field manager with Campus Construction, said on Tuesday that the last phase of the track work is expected to begin next week, with a two-week window for its completion. The timeline for that work is mostly dependant on weather.

“We have to juggle some sports activities to get that company in here to work on the track,” he said. “But that’s our biggest issue right now is the track and its surface.”

With school back in session, Perkins added that anywhere there are teachers, staff or student interaction is work that will be taking place second shift.

Other work that school staff, students and visitors may notice includes some repaved parking lots, a new athletic locker room in the basement of the high school and improvements to the school’s pool with both aesthetic enhancements and a new filtration system.

The bulk of the rest of the work is infrastructure, including new boilers in the high school, for example.

Work will continue into next summer, and Moritz reminded the public that it hasn’t all been completed just yet.

“Anyone who thinks as they drive around, ‘why didn’t they do all that sidewalk or paving work or why did they leave this with potholes’ should know that’s all happening next summer,” she said. “I don’t want anyone to think we’ve missed something — it’s just simply you could not do that much work all in one summer.”

In regard to this summer’s work, though, Moritz said project officials did well sticking to the timeline and the allotted budget.

“We did $8.5 million worth of work this summer, which that’s in two months time, so when you consider the magnitude of a project like that, certainly there were different things that came up,” she said. “But I wouldn’t say there was anything dramatic and we certainly handled it.”

That included administrators sometimes being inconvenienced throughout the summer months, Moritz said. Because some of the work continued right up until the end of last week, it provided a unique challenge as administrators were getting ready to begin the school year.

“The real pressure, I think too, was felt by the building administrators because those principals really want to open school with everything perfect and ready to go, and when you are completing construction on the Friday before school starts, you don’t get that opportunity to go in and do the really deep clean that our head custodians and principals want to see done every year before school starts,” Moritz said. “It’s taken a lot of patience and tolerance on everyone’s part and I think overall everyone has done really well.”

Much of the work — most notably the improvements around Pop Warner Field — will be on display for the public to see during the Welcome Back and Pre-Game Celebration on Friday beginning at 6 p.m.

The event will kick off the new school year and will include music, food, games, face painting and more. It takes place immediately before the 7:30 p.m. kickoff of the Griffins’ matchup against Medina.

“I can’t wait for the public to really get to come and experience that new field this Friday night,” Moritz said. “I know that people are seeing it as they drive by or coming up for other events, but that first home varsity Friday night game this week is going to be really exciting.”

The entire Phase 1B of the current project is expected to be completed by fall of 2019.