Work Crews Digging Down, Looking Up in School Project

FCI Constructors and their subcontractors are working at a fast, early morning to late evening clip as they continue work on the expansion of Lake City Community School.
Under rare overcast and rainy skies last Thursday, workmen for Blue Valley Carpentry in Gunnison labored at a high angle as they unfastened and prepared for hoisting the school’s well-known belfry tower.
With hard hats in place and belayed like rock climbers, Blue Valley’s Placido Carpio and Rene Altamirano where raised to an access chute which had been prepared through the top of the 135-year-old tower.
Altamirano used a ladder to climb down into the tower, installing metal angle iron and timber to reinforce the venerable construction for transport.
After being secured on the interior, the tower was slowly raised by crane and gently deposited at ground level. The trademark tower, which was originally installed on the carriage house of the 1884 Hiram Kelly home in Cheyenne, Wyoming, will be reattached as a central feature over the new entrance of the enlarged Lake City Community School.
Again in the midst of cloudy skies and rain on Tuesday this week, workers for FCI Constructors, Hutchinson, Kansas-based Longfellow Foundations, and earth moving subcontractors WebCo Excavation, Lake City, busily worked throughout the day in advance of the start of foundation work for the new building.
Yeh & Associates, Grand Junction, who also supervised tree debris removal from last winter’s avalanches, engineered a series of concrete grout piles with reinforced steel which will support the weight of the new building and gymnasium.
In their studies, Yeh & Associates analyzed subsurface ground strata at the school site and discovered a dense gravel layer beneath the ground which undoubtedly was deposited by the Lake Fork River eons prior to the settlement of Lake City.
Based on this compact layer of gravel, together with other subsurface soil conditions including sand, it was concluded that the new school’s foundation will be supported by a total of 86 25’-deep, 16”-diameter piles which are referred to as “Auger-Cast Piles” or CFA (Continuous Flight Auger Piles).
Contractor for the piles’ installation is Longfellow Foundations from Hutchinson, Kansas, headed by the firm’s vice president, affable Kansan Jason Hoy.
Joining Hoy on the local worksite are fellow Longfellow workers Jesse Childers, Caleb Childers, Kevin Heuck, Ricario Benigno, and Cirilo Suarez.
Longfellow’s presence can hardly be missed with the appropriately-named 75’-tall drilling rig which is also equipped with a grout pumper.
Excavation adjacent to the old school building and in the former school playground has been fast-paced all week as local subcontractor WebCo Excavation with Crystal Brown and her father, Gene Brown, wielding heavy equipment as they excavate a footprint for the new building.
Scattered throughout the footprint will be a total of 86 surveyors’ markers identifying the location where bores will be made by the Longfellow drilling rig for the groupings of concrete piles.
According to Jason Hoy, preliminaries up to the anticipated start of drilling on Wednesday included a load test on Tuesday morning which confirmed that the grout and steel-filled piles will support 150 tons which is two and a half times the weight of the new building.
Although based out of Kansas, Longfellow oversees auger-cast pilings throughout the western United States. In Colorado, the firm’s projects have included foundations for weighty grain storage silos at Cheyenne Wells and Burlington on the state’s eastern plains, as well as a beef packing plant at Fort Morgan, Colorado, and multi-story parking garage in Colorado Springs.