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Soil, ledge cause problems for Fisk School renovation in Salem

SALEM — Some tough underground conditions have slowed down the renovation project at the Fisk Elementary School, but Superintendent Michael Delahanty said it’s too early to tell whether the problems will delay the opening of school next September.

“There have been some significant issues the past month or so, primarily with the ledge and unsuitable soil at the Fisk School,” said Delahanty.

The renovations at the Soule Elementary School have been proceeding on schedule, according to Delahanty.

The underground ledge has been an issue at the school throughout the early stages of the Fisk project. Most recently, contractors ran into ledge issues as they were digging a trench for a water line from Main Street to the school.

“As a result of all the ledge, our construction manager estimates we’re about three or four weeks behind where the Soule School is and where we anticipated we would be at this time,” said Delahanty. “They do anticipate that we can make up some ground, particularly if we do not have a harsh winter.”

By spring, Delahanty said the district will know whether the ledge issues will slow down the project enough to cause a delay in the 2014-15 school year opening.

“I’m extremely confident that we will not have to worry about delaying the start of school for the Fisk School,” he said. “We’re still much, much too early in the process to know with any certainty, but by April or May, we should know for sure.”

By that time, the construction manager should be able to outline strategies to speed up the project in the summer, if needed.

Work is moving ahead quicker at the Soule School, the other major ongoing elementary school renovation project.

“You can see the steel going up, and it looks impressive,” said Delahanty.

He added that staff, students and parents at both schools have been handling the inconveniences and disruptions caused by the construction projects

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