SEEKONK -- Paul Griffin
is the master of what can only be described as organized chaos.
Huge earthmovers dig an ever-deepening hole for Seekonk High School's new swimming pool.Inside the building , cables dangle from the exposed ceiling , the floor is rough concrete and the gym is stacked shoulder-high with drums and tubas , tables and chairs.
Despite the growing concern of teachers and parents , project manager Griffin remains convinced that the high school will be ready , if not finished , by Sept. 5 , the first day of classes.
In a fall ritual as familiar as buying a new backpack , school districts across Rhode Island and Southeastern Massachusetts are rushing to complete construction projects large and small in time for the first day of classes.
Scrambling is the right word for it , says Griffin
, whose cell phone rings constantly.We're working overtime , adding more staff and trying to solve problems on a minute-by-minute basis..
It looks as if some districts won't make it.
North Kingstown announced last week that it will postpone the start of school for all students because the new $33-million high school , where half of the district's meals will be prepared , won't be ready.
...You have to figure out who the enemy is , says Griffin , who works for Construction Monitoring Services , the companyhired by the town to oversee both projects
The high school renovation , which began in the spring , has been plagued with headaches.The new windows haven't arrived ; the partially finished roof leaked after heavy rains earlier this month , and a prolonged heat wave brought a couple of projects to a halt for several days.
Most homeowners know the frustration of waiting for a contractor to arrive.Multiply that situation a hundredfold and you will begin to understand the magnitude of bringing a major school project in on time.
somehow manages to stay cool.
It's like playing sports , he
says.The object is to have fun and to win.But most people think you can't win at this game..
With construction projects coming down to the wire , superintendents are faced with making decisions worthy of Solomon : postpone the start of school to ensure that classrooms are ready , or stick with the opening day schedule and run the risk of last-minute delays.
In North Smithfield
, parents won't know until Tuesday night , when the School Committee meets , whether the elementary school will open on Aug. 29.