School construction projects given green light to operate during COVID-19 closures – more local contractors awarded projects
WALLA WALLA – Monday Governor Jay Inslee issued his “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order requiring Washingtonians to stay home unless they need to pursue an essential activity to help curb the spread of COVID-19. Educational services through Distance Learning Programs such as WWPS’s weekly packet pickup for elementary students, daily meals to students and childcare for first responders and medical professionals, did not fall into the closure criteria and remain operational.
School construction projects were also exempt from Governor Inslee’s directive. This point was reinforced by the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) Chris Reykdal’s address March 24 sent to all superintendents stating, "neither the proclamation nor the list of essential functions would preclude districts from continuing your construction projects."
As a result of this information from the State of Washington, Jackson Contractor Group notified the school district that Walla Walla High School improvements will continue. Jackson Contractor Group of Walla Walla is currently building the new science building at Walla Walla High School as part of the district’s bond program. Rylan Oakland of Jackson Contractor Group says his company has implemented social distancing protocols for all employees and subcontractors working on the project. He noted they have also added handwashing stations on the job site as a disease control preventative measure.
Superintendent Dr. Wade Smith reported over $2M in additional bond work related to Walla Walla High School civil infrastructure improvement phase scheduled for this spring were all awarded to local Walla Walla contractors. Premier Excavation secured the excavation and earthwork, Cutting Edge Plumbing will complete the plumbing elements, Walla Walla Electric is doing the electrical work and Nelson Construction Inc. is supporting concrete flatwork needs.
“We’re thrilled to see $2M going right back into Walla Walla pockets,” said Smith. “Work is set to begin soon on the civil infrastructure project that includes underground utilities across the campus to replace aged and failing infrastructure as well as necessary utilities to support the campus renovations. Improvements includes upgraded sewer, domestic water and fire supply to meet code requirements, replacing outdated electrical transformer infrastructure, and fiber connectivity for communications and technology.”