At the Groton school board meeting Monday, September 29, school superintendent Jim Abrams offered updates about the construction work being done at the high school.
The emergency project, a drain replacement discovered after sinkholes appeared on school property, has forced Groton to reroute their main entrance, as well as the bus and parent drop-off points since the start of the school year. The pipe needed to be replaced because Abrams said that water couldn’t get through the proper pipes and was creating soft spots in the ground.
The project had also forced the school to close on September 22, due to a water main break in the parking lot, and luckily, no cars were in the vicinity of the area.
Since construction started around Labor Day, “The old deteriorating pipe has been removed and a trench for the new pipe has been dug,” according to an update from the school’s website. “Since the damaged section of pipe was underneath the main entrance front steps it is necessary to remove part of the sidewalk in front of the building. As part of a preventative maintenance plan, the pipeline is being redirected and will channel water and waste away from the front of the building, reconnecting into the storm and sewer drain that runs underneath the road. While much of the original pipeline will remain intact, this new channel replaces a portion of original clay tile pipe with galvanized steel pipe.”
Abrams said the construction is moving along as scheduled, with a completion date aiming for mid-October.
“They are starting to do the sidewalks, and the new road will go in shortly,” said Abrams. “We are still looking at mid-October. The unknowns are all taken care of, so it should (be completed then). Now that they are at the point where they know the existing conditions, it’s a little easier to put together a schedule.”
Abrams said that as construction has been ongoing, they have discovered interesting artifacts of Groton Central School from back in the day. When they lifted up some of the plywood that was covering construction holes after the water main break, Abrams said that the underground is all made of blacktop, which he says may be attributed to the fact that the space was once used as a school rifle range.
The superintendent added that they discovered more surprises inside the constructed area, when it was realized that a shower used to be in that space.
“It was blocked off and plugged the hole, but what rusted was the plug,” said Abrams. “The water that is going out from the roof drains can’t get out, and it backs up. It was probably a geyser in there before we got it all fixed. We can repair that by putting a wrap around it.”
Another project Groton schools are working on is the construction of a new playground for the elementary school students. Abrams said that the painting of the new facility and equipment began October 6, so “it will look like something other than a parking lot.” The new playground will feature a 1/8th of a mile track. Since the start of school, the elementary students have been having recess and gym classes indoors, on the existing playground or in the field until the new one is ready.