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Construction at Mason City High School is still on schedule

Mason City school officials are “cautiously optimistic” about the progress being made on the new natatorium and fieldhouse.

Superintendent Dave Versteeg said that while the project is experiencing some small setbacks and material backorders, completion of the natatorium and fieldhouse is still on track for July 2022.

Fieldhouse construction at MCHS 1

Construction continues on the fieldhouse and natatorium at Mason City High School continues.

“If we can get (the materials) when they’re ready for it, I think we should be in good shape,” said Activities Director Tracy Johnson. “There’s always that concern that there may be a delay. So as of right now, we are in good shape.”

Johnson said site developer Henkel Construction’s focus right now is on the pool. The pool is 75% dug, but excavation crews recently experienced a bit of a hiccup when they ran into a rock bed in the soil. Johnson says this will not cause a major shift in the timeline.

“The largest issue today was the need to remove the poor soil in the site and replace it with a suitable material to build on,” said Versteeg. “They have hit rock in the deep end of the pool [and are] dealing with excess groundwater and silt.” 

As the weather takes a step closer to winter conditions, construction crews won’t face many issues, because enough of the job tasks have been completed or are in a position where workers can be inside, Johnson said. 

The original contract for the natatorium and the fieldhouse was close to $24 million, according to Versteeg. He added that there has been a net of $397,000 in change orders to date, the largest one being for the soil replacement.

Versteeg reiterated that the construction cost of the fieldhouse and natatorium has no impact on Mason City residents’ property taxes. 

“The funds for this construction project come from a special category of school funds generated by a one-cent sales tax levied across Iowa,” said Versteeg. “One-cent sales-tax dollars can only be used for construction, maintenance of buildings and a few other specific infrastructure purposes. One-cent sales-tax dollars cannot be used for salaries and benefits of employees.”

Fieldhouse construction at MCHS

Construction continues on the fieldhouse and natatorium at Mason City High School continues.

The purchase of athletic equipment is being provided by The Future is Now campaign, and is not included in the cost of the project. Versteeg said the campaign is on track to reach its $750,000 fundraising goal in the next couple of months. Planned purchases include weight room equipment, scoreboards, track and field equipment, and pool-lane lines. 

Both Versteeg and Johnson say they are excited to see the project come closer to completion.

“Every day it gets more exciting to see the progress,” said Versteeg. “To think at the end of this school year it will be nearly complete is exciting.”

“If we could be in (the fieldhouse) the first day of school next year, that would be awesome, and I feel pretty good about that,” said Johnson.

Abby covers education and public safety for the Globe Gazette. Follow her on Twitter at @MkayAbby. Email her at Abby.Koch@GlobeGazette.com

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