Despite unexpected obstacles, the project is within budget

As students begin making plans to return to West Linn High School to pick up their schedules next week, they might want to plan a little extra time to park and walk to the school.

Crews are still working on the two main parking lots, off A Street and Skyline Drive, and they remain unavailable for use. The Tripp lot, located at the school’s southern end behind the performing arts building, is open and able to accommodate approximately 160 vehicles.

by: TIDINGS PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Contractors are working to complete the parking lot upgrades by the time students return to West Linn High School.Starting after school let out in June, the parking lots under construction were re-engineered to meet city code, according to the school district’s director of operations, Tim Woodley.

“The asphalt itself had degraded and was, in engineering terms, ‘alligatoring,’ where it just breaks up,” Woodley said. The term refers to changes in asphalt where the surface cracks and shifts, coming to resemble an alligator’s rough skin.

City code allows for replacement of a certain amount of asphalt, but the damage in the high school lots was beyond the allowable square footage, Woodley said.

“When you exceed the limits of what you can replace, it triggers full compliance with city codes for replacing,” he said. That meant the school district needed to not only replace the asphalt but also add stormwater control devices, handicapped parking spots, upgrades to meet requirements of the Americans With Disabilities Act and changes to driveways to meet current traffic codes that dictate the distance of driveways from intersections. The ADA-related changes include creating handicapped access to the stadium, something the district had been criticized for lacking, Woodley TIDINGS PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Many of the parking lot upgrades involved bringing the facility up to city standards, including upgrades to meet requirements of the Americans With Disabilities Act.

“I’d rather have gone in and repaved,” he added. “These were really old parking lots, and to bring them into compliance, that’s just the path you take.”

At its May meeting, the school board voted to accept a $1.48 million bid from Three Kings Environmental Inc. for the parking lot project. A construction contingency fund brought the project’s total budget up to a maximum of $1.75 million. Although that contingency fund has been tapped, Woodley said he did not expect the project budget to exceed the total allotted. Funding came from the 2008 capital bond.

“Experience tells us when we do earth work and especially parking lots and utilities with city involvement, you’re going to run into stuff you need to attend to,” he said. “We created a contingency that’s appropriate, and we’ve used it.”

Items adding to the costs of the project, according to Woodley, included wet soil, historic organic fill, an underground fuel storage tank and unmarked underground utilities.

All were remedied to environmental and city code.

“Our contractor has been running a pretty tight schedule on this and continues to believe they’ll have it done (on time),” Woodley said. “The one caution I have is it may look done, but that doesn’t mean it’s done.”

Once the asphalt is put down, work will begin to add bioswales, painting of parking lines and other finishing details.

"Just because there’s asphalt doesn’t mean it’s done. I want to give our contractor complete time to get it done,” Woodley said.

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