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 overcrowding at Elon, 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 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. 

Future schools

Here are some updates on bond projects in the Matthews-Mint Hill area: 

• Vertical construction has started at the replacement school for Lansdowne Elementary, which will help relieve overcrowding at Elizabeth Lane Elementary beginning August 2020 in Matthews. 

• Vertical construction is almost underway at the new elementary school being built next to Mint Hill Middle. This will relieve crowding at Bain, Lebanon Road and Piney Grove elementary schools once it opens in August. 

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