CHARLOTTE – Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools continues to work on projects approved by voters in 2017 as COVID-19 puts increased pressure on supply chains across the construction industry.
A future school that will relieve crowding at Elon Park, Hawk Ridge and Polo Ridge elementary schools will be bid out differently to account for delays in steel, according to Don Cave a program director for CMS’s capital program services.
The steel piece of the project will be bid out earlier so the school opens by its August 2023 deadline. The school, located at 11000 Beau Riley Road in Charlotte, is currently in the design development phase.
Delays go beyond steel. Cave said they may come with LED lights, metal decking or installation roofing.
“We’re working through those challenges day-to-day and so far, we are being able to conquer those challenges,” Cave told CMS’s bond sight committee Aug. 26. “Don’t know what hits us tomorrow, but we continue to play that out and come up with different ways to mitigate those challenges every day.”
Such challenges may ultimately affect the bottom line.
“Through these supply chain issues, there’s a still a lot of unknowns,” Cave said. “I talked to a lot of our [construction managers] and I think everyone’s in the same boat. We’re all trying to figure out what’s going to hit next and what it does to pricing. We feel that there’s some predatory pricing out there quite honestly. People take advantage of the situation, but hopefully we can get these packages lined up and maybe we’ll start feeling some relief by the time we do those next year.”
Dennis Dreyer, a member of CMS’s bond sight committee, said that CMS is not alone in dealing with these issues.
“We’re all dealing with these spikes and trying to figure out how to adjust our budgets to still make our long-term play,” Dreyer told Cave.
Here are some updates on bond projects in the south Charlotte area:
• CMS added a 16-classroom wing and expanded the cafeteria at Sharon Elementary School by the opening of school.
• South Pine Academy opened at 2541 Sandy Porter Road. The 45-classroom building relieves crowding at Nations Ford, Sterling and Steele Creek elementary schools.
• Career technical education improvements continue at South Mecklenburg High, as well as Harding and Olympic. South Meck will get a new culinary arts lab and classroom. These projects are scheduled for January 2023 completion, but CMS is experiencing delays with materials.
• A new high school that will relieve crowding at Ardrey Kell and South Mecklenburg in August 2024 is in the rezoning phase. Community meetings are taking place this month to discuss the project at 12218 North Community House Road
CMS is having “promising” conversations regarding potential sites for a new school that would provide relief for Community House Middle School, according to construction consultant Dennis Lacaria.
The project may not be in this bond cycle, but he told the bond sight committee that it’s a badly needed site in south Charlotte that may be obtained from savings reserved through a recent land swap.