ROCKPORT — On Dec. 19, School Administrative District 28 School Board and Superintendent Maria Libby listened to a presentation on the current state of the new middle school construction by Mary Beth Van Keuren, who serves as the Owner’s Representative of the Camden-Rockport Middle School building project.
She began be describing the onsite conditions which led to to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) issuing a violation notice to contractors and SAD 28 after visiting the Knowlton Street property on Nov. 27.
The DEP alleged that SAD 28 (Camden-Rockport K-8), Ledgewood Construction, of South Portland, and Jake Barbour Inc., of Rockland had violated the state’s Erosion and Sedimentation Control Law at the Camden site where a new school is under construction. As yet the district has not been fined by the DEP.
“Our winter conditions were not in place at that point,” said Van Keuren. “They have to do extra mulching and a lot more stabilization [measures] before winter arrives...it was supposed to be done by Nov. 1 and we were not done by Nov. 1.”
Van Keuren said that at the time of the DEP’s inspection there were approximately five acres of open area at the site which had not been stabilized. She said that since then the area has been stabilized using approximately 1,000 yards of heavy mulch, and the perimeters of the site have been reworked to increase the strength or the berms or earth embankments. Additionally, two sediment basins were added to the property.
“There are some areas near the foundation that are not quite stable, but as we’re back-filling they’re becoming stable. Right now we have less than an acre that is not stabilized,” said Van Keuren.
She explained that the erosion control berms have been placed on the site work to runoff by trapping water and filtering it through a mixture of salt and gravel, mulch and finally a “silt fence.”
“DEP was back on Dec. 7 and they were very happy with the progress.... We had some issues with some footing drains that were open so there was dirty water going into the foundation, they were drains which hadn’t been quite finished, they had been extended, and they hadn’t been capped and it was very unfortunate that when DEP came that was the situation there, but that stuff has been taken care of and as they back-fill the foundation there will be less and less of that,” said Van Keuren.
Other recent developments on the project include adding an insulating frost wall to the south academic wing of the building’s foundation, and preliminary work has been done to allocate where radiant heat, plumbing and electrical lines will be placed.
Van Keuren said that the project’s general contractor has been providing the DEP and Libby with daily updates on the project. Additionally, Van Keuren said that parking on site has been limited, and the decreased traffic has resulted in much less dirt been tracked off off the site.
Work continues on the building’s new elevator tower, and currently workers are in the process of pouring retaining walls along the site. Walls for the facility’s new gymnasium and utility bay are also in place. A water line may be added to the building’s mechanical bay, along with a temporary meter, for onsite mixing of soluble concrete.
With 94 percent of the project’s budget encumbered, Van Keuren said that approximately 17 percent has been expended to date.
The new Camden-Rockport Middle School is expected to be completed in time for the start of the 2020 academic year.
Following the presentation, board member Carole Gartley asked Van Keuren if the school district had received a fine from the DEP.
“Typically DEP will issue the notice of violation and if you don’t correct it, then they’ll fine us. But we have not been fined,” said Van Keuren.
Libby said that she heard from Camden code enforcement officer Jeremy Martin on Dec. 17 that the district would be receiving a notice of violation from the Town of Camden through certified mail.
“The town is the entity that would fine us, and he didn’t mention anything about fines in the email that he sent. So I’m not sure if a notice of violation necessarily comes with a fine. I know that they talked about that at a [Camden] Select Board meeting and there did seem to be lot of support for fining us at that meeting. I don’t know if that has changed or not – I guess we’ll see when we get the notice,” said Libby.
Libby said that if the district is in fact fined, those fines will be passed on to the contractor.
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