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Strike puts Eel River Elementary behind schedule

Tuesday, July 21, 2009 - 11:09 am

Northwest Allen County Schools' newest elementary school is behind schedule for completion, but the architect is hopeful the building will be ready for students Aug. 13.

The five-week carpenters' strike put mainly the flooring and cabinetry behind for the $19 million Eel River Elementary, scheduled to be completed July 17.

“They couldn't have hurt us any more with the strike than they did with Eel River,” said Dana Wannemacher, vice president of Barton-Coe-Vilamaa Architects-Engineers, the architect on the project.

Wannemacher said there shouldn't be a worry about students being in the building for the start of school, but teachers may not have access to the building until Aug. 8. That leaves little time to prepare their classrooms.

“I've been doing this for 24 years, and we haven't missed one (school start) yet,” he said.

The biggest concerns now are the media center, cafeteria and library. District Business Manager Bill Mallers said even if work continues in the building after school begins, it shouldn't be a problem.

Wannemacher said contractors will be working right up until the first day of school.