WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Officials with the Wichita Falls Independent School District’s Board of Trustees met on Tuesday, October 11, 2022, with the district’s two new high schools among the items to be discussed.
On the agenda for Tuesday’s meeting was a progress update on the ongoing construction of Legacy High School on Henry S. Grace Freeway, and Memorial High School on Kell Freeway, as well as a discussion item to address possible value engineering on the schools.
Construction is well underway on the district’s new high schools. The ground was broken at the two new locations in April 2021.
During the board meeting, trustees addressed rumors that have apparently been circulating in the community that due to budget issues with the construction of WFISD’s new high schools, contractors were being forced to cut corners.
According to board members, concerns have recently arisen among members of the community that too much value engineering is taking place to keep the new schools under budget.
However, David Potter, the architect overseeing construction on the new schools since day said that just isn’t the case.
According to Potter’s report given Tuesday to the trustees, things are looking very positive for both high schools.
“We’re very thrilled with the progress we’ve made,” Potter said. “We’re on schedule, we’re still on budget, so we’re very happy with the process.”
Potter said several factors have contributed to the progress at Legacy and Memorial, one of those being the length of the project. Potter said that making these 26-month builds, versus the standard one-year build, has allowed them to weather supply chain issues that have delayed several shorter projects recently.
Though he said he’s thankful for the recent rain received in Wichita Falls, Potter also said the dry summer and start to fall in Wichita Falls has allowed construction crews to finish much of the dirt and foundation work in a timely manner.
Another safeguard to ensure steady progress at the high school can be found within the original building plans themselves.
Potter said the original designs for the new high schools included several non-essential features, called “additive alternatives” that can be removed from the project without jeopardizing the integrity of the structures, based on budgetary needs.
According to Potter, this allows the company to simply remove certain additions, rather than completely scaling down the project if budget concerns do arise. The additions being removed from construction were actually designed to be removed.
“We’ve been very proactive about saving money, starting from before the actual bid date,” Potter said.
So, both schools remain on pace to be completed more than six months before they are set to open in the fall of 2024.
WFISD has a constant feed from on-site cameras at both build locations, which can be accessed by using the buttons below.