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Delay is possible on $10M renovation project at YME

GRANITE FALLS -- Work is nearly finished on a $10 million project to improve ventilation systems at Yellow Medicine East School District buildings in Granite Falls.

However, if state inspectors are not available to inspect the work that's been done since June, the district could face a delay in cleaning and moving furniture back into classrooms.

Superintendent Alan Stoeckman said the district is about to wrap up its second year of work on the project.

When he was interviewed on Thursday, Gov. Mark Dayton had just announced a new compromise offer to Republican legislative leaders. They continued to meet throughout the day to discuss the offer.

The project at YME includes improving ventilation and air quality in the high school and Bert Raney Elementary School. By the time the project is done, the district will have replaced steam heating systems with hot water systems.

Both systems were beyond their expected life spans and needed updated technology.

Upgrades also included improvements to the schools' electrical systems, the installation of energy-efficient lighting, and tuck pointing on the high school's exterior buildings.

Stoeckman said he had asked contractors to get as much work done as possible by late June, so that it could be inspected before a shutdown began on July 1.

"Right now, we're moving along," Stoeckman said Thursday. It's a project where many different mechanical systems are woven together, and the lack of one inspector could interfere with the work of several different contractors.

Stoeckman said he's not sure when the next inspections will be needed.

The district's target date for completion is Aug. 12. There will be work after that to test systems and such, he said, but that's the day to start moving furniture back into classrooms.

Linda Vanderwerf

I cover education issues for the West Central Tribune and have worked for the paper since 1995. I have worked in journalism since 1981.

Follow me on Twitter: @lindavanderwerf

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