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Rogue River High begins two days late

School officials take the extra precaution because of the new electrical system

ROGUE RIVER ' Rogue River High School will begin classes two days after the rest of the district's schools. School officials want to make sure the school's new electrical system will be up and running with no bugs.

Both Rogue River elementary schools and the middle school will begin as scheduled on Sept. 3.

Project manager and school board member Dick Handbury said the problems are not the fault of either Cubit Construction or Pacific Power & Light, but is the result of unforeseen complications during work on the school's bond-funded projects, which total nearly &

36;2 million.

Handbury said when the school's new electrical vault was put in, the original cable wasn't grounded properly. And the new system required more cable than could be pulled through the old conduit.

This meant we had to put in new conduit from the road and get a new transformer, said Handbury.

The new transformer is a custom-made item that needed to be special-ordered through Pacific Power.

Although Pacific Power assured the school they could install the transformer by Aug. 30, school officials decided to take the extra two days to make sure the system is up and running perfectly.

Principal Dave Orr said Pacific Power has worked hard to keep on schedule, but there is concern about what might happen when they shut down power and hook up all the new lines and boxes.

The first test showed some issues, said Orr. So if the final run shows some issues, we have a couple extra days to make sure it doesn't cause a power problem once we hook up all our computers, faxes and all the lights. We want to make sure the power system is working fine.

Even with the power problems resolved, the school will continue its transformation.

One of the main items still to be completed is the replacement of more than 20,000 square feet of roof.

Orr says the old roof, which has leaked virtually from the day it was installed, has been a major challenge to construction crews.

Once the old roofing and interior ceilings were removed, damage from the decades of leakage was evident. Rust had eroded holes in virtually every square foot of the school's roofing infrastructure.

It's like someone took a shotgun and fired 15,000 rounds into the ceiling. You can see stars thorough this thing at night, said Orr. There are places so corroded the construction guys were literally falling through the roof with their machines.

Handbury said the new pan decking roof is a complicated series of layers of hot mop, lightweight concrete and insulation. The final exterior design is a geometric configuration that creates high points called crickets, which funnel water into small wicking holes. The collected water is channeled out through an internal gutter system.

The new ceilings and the rest of the school's projects are expected to be complete by the end of September or the beginning of October.

Orr said Cubit Construction is trying to keep on schedule in spite of the construction surprises.

This job should have taken six to eight months to complete, said Orr. They're going to get it done in four.

District Superintendent Charles Hellman stressed the two-day delay in starting the new school year will not create a problem in state-mandated educational hours requirements.

We want to ensure that everything is ready for our students, said Hellman. We want to open up with the power restored and the rooms clean.

State law requires 990 instructional hours of schooling each school year. Rogue River high school has 1,030 hours of instruction scheduled. The delay will cost the school 12 hours of instructional time bringing the year's total to 1,018 hours.

Sanne Specht is a free-lance writer living in Rogue River. Reach her at RogueRiverGal@aol.com