Junction City High School postpones opening tours of new facility

JUNCTION CITY, Kan. — Following approval of a phased opening plan by the City of Junction City, Geary County Schools USD 475 made the difficult decision on Friday to postpone the opening tours of the new Junction City High School.

The tours were originally scheduled for August 6 and 7, which included a VIP and Open House tour.

This postponement is due to multiple delays the district has faced in the construction of the new facility.

“Community members may recall a six-month delay in payment of Heavily Impacted Aid which resulted in a concurrent delay in the special bond election from May to November of 2017,” said David Wild, chief operations officer for Geary County Schools USD 475. “After a successful bond campaign and during design development, the district experienced turbulence with a couple of key personnel. This brought SJCF Architecture’s design development to a crawl while the district worked through its internal challenges. Design delay proved to be the first obstacle to timely completion of the project.”

Following approval of design and construction documents from the Geary County Schools USD 475 Board of Education, the district experienced further delays, pushing the project approximately five months behind its timeline, according to Wild. However, a fall of 2021 opening remained hopeful in the minds of the district, architects, and constructors working on the project.

The pandemic proved to be the next obstacle encountered by the construction partnership, impacting timely delivery of materials, and creating a shortage of workers. At the peak of construction, Hutton Construction had a maximum of 300 personnel on-site, still 40 to 50 employees short.

Most recently, the district experienced further delays in June due to the approval of a graphics package and comprehensive furnishings.

Despite the cancellation, Wild said the ability to even open the school is remarkable. To thank for that, he said, is the hard work and success of the Hutton Construction team. The pristine levels of communication and integration efforts made by General Superintendent Cody Simon and Project Manager Curtis Calvert are entirely appreciated by the district.

“These two are unsung heroes of this massive undertaking,” Wild said. “There have been hundreds and thousands of decisions made to include the integration of well over 100 subcontractors and suppliers. Neither man ever spoke of the tireless hours and many sleepless nights.”

In place of the tours, the district will instead hold a formal ribbon-cutting in the fall. Junction City High School students will have their first day in the new facility on August 25.

For inquiries, please contact Lindley Lund, Marketing and Media Specialist for Geary County Schools USD 475, at lindleylund@usd475.org.