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The construction of the new Mount Stuart Elementary School and the currently unnamed elementary school is not being slowed much by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Garco Construction is working on both projects and is taking care to ensure the health and safety of everyone working the projects.

Program Manager Damon Gardella said they are taking the temperature of all workers before entering the site which is closed, meaning nobody is allowed in or out without access. He said the gates are being watched by someone in full PPE gear. This gear is provided to all workers.

Gardella said at the start of the statewide shutdown, it was difficult for construction companies to acquire some of their resources. Over time, these resources became available as everyone adjusted to the new state guidelines.

“It did cause some downtime in some permitting processors and things like that,” Gardella said. “I don’t know anybody who wasn’t effected when it (lockdown) first happened.”

He said they don’t know the exact impact the shutdown will have on the construction timeline, because it is still in effect. It is something they will have to keep an eye on as it plays out.

As of May 21, Garco was waiting on the last set of construction permits before working on the new elementary school, but they had prepped the site. When construction does begin, everything will be ready.

Gardella said that the current project stage does not require groups of workers, so it is not too difficult to keep workers at a safe distance from each other.

“The work that was done to prep the site and the work that will be done for the next few weeks will be single people inside of their equipment,” Gardella said. “So, they are really not in groups right now just as the nature of the work.”

Staying safe during the coronavirus outbreak does slow down construction, and while it is difficult at this time to estimate how much it will slow down construction, Gardella is confident it won’t be a major issue.

“We are not worried about people inside (the construction site), it is mostly outside,” Gardella said. “We are really spread apart inside, with everyone in their own piece of equipment, such as bulldozers and dump trucks.”

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