Construction continues on Everett schools’ new home

EVERETT — Anyone passing by the corner of Broadway near 41st Street SE in Everett has probably noticed the building site: a formerly grassy field with newly bared dirt and a tall yellow machine that looks like a pile driver.

The trucks, equipment and hard hat-donned workers are signs that construction on the Everett School District’s $23.8 million administration building is progressing. The building is scheduled to open in the fall of 2013.

Workers began pouring concrete for the building’s foundation last week, said Hal Beumel, the district’s director of facilities and planning.

The tall machine is installing geopiers on the site. “In a sense, it’s like pile driving,” Beumel said. “They drive a tube into the ground until they hit good, hard dirt.”

The tube is filled with crushed rock and it is compacted to create a pier out of gravel.

The piers are needed because fill had been overlaid on a significant portion of the site. It was good fill, but not compacted, Beumel said.

“Rather than spend money to excavate that and haul it away, we went with geopiers,” he said.

Workers will construct 200 to 300 of the underground piers, depending on soil conditions. A soils engineer is on the site every day to assess how many are needed.

If fewer are needed than originally estimated, it will save construction money and speed up construction, Beumel said.

The winning construction bid for the two-story building at 3900 Broadway, $16.9 million, was submitted by BNCC Inc., of Steilacoom, in May.

The total site costs will be higher: sales tax, inspections, furniture and equipment, design fees and change orders are expected to increase the price to $23.8 million.

The money for the building came from a variety of sources, including about $12.8 million from state matching funds saved from previous school construction projects and $11 million from rent, past property sales, interest and rebates from utilities grants.

Workers will spend the summer on foundation and slab work. “In the fall you’ll start to see the building coming out of the ground and the walls will start going up,” Beumel said.

There’s been one unexpected development. A patch of petroleum-contaminated soil was found on the site. In 2009, contaminated soils were removed from the property, thought to be left over from an oil distributor and some gas stations that once were based there, Beumel said.

“We thought we got it all three years ago, but missed a small pocket,” he said.

Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486; salyer@heraldnet.com

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