Shining a light on EHS construction issues

EHS still undergoes construction of new school this year

For EHS the word construction isn’t one students haven’t heard before. For the last three years, EHS has undergone construction to the new and old school Seniors last year graduated in the midst of a construction site. The town of Eaton has completely revamped many of the old schools with the construction of the new EHS.

Sampson Construction won the bid to build the school and broke ground in January of 2020. The new high school was expected to be finished before students and staff came back to start the fall 2022 school year. The new school is beautiful, but construction is still in the midst of finishing, even months after they were supposed to hand over the building.

The completed construction date continually got postponed, but the school was supposed to be done and handed over by Aug. 1 before students and staff returned from summer break. When staff returned to school on Aug. 24, the entire north wing of the school was still under heavy construction and unable to be accessed. Well into November, Sampson is still finishing construction on the learning stairs and some other areas of the building, including the auditorium. Head of construction

Vaughn Martin weighed in on the struggles faced during the project. Martin said, “With the current economy it is hard to get materials and many things were delayed that were ordered. There were some design issues and there was added work that takes time. There were manpower issues and supply chain issues.”

Martin expressed that whatever is on the architectural plans is what the construction workers abide by. The construction completion date for the high school is now the middle of November. As head of construction, Martin did his job for building what was asked of him. Martin believes it was challenging, but still believes it is a beautiful building. 

RB+B architect Brianne Smith explained how the process of designing the school began. Smith said, “There was a stakeholder meeting and we were informed about how to design EHS; we discussed different things that were going to be best for the community and culture of Eaton.” 

The new learning stairs located in the cafeteria that were designed to give students a place to study during lunch were inspected and closed off before school started due to an issue with the code. The stairs have been closed since school started and will have to undergo major construction again before they are up to code. Smith said, “We had designed the learning stairs as sitting areas and unfortunately the inspector interpreted the sitting areas as walking areas and determined it was a hazard.”

The new gym has also been a hot topic of discussion because when the gym opened it quickly became apparent that it wasn’t painted correctly. Smith said, “There was a miscommunication between us and the school. The school wanted the gym floor longer than CHSAA regulations, but we designed it according to CHSAA regulations.”

The new Eaton High School is beautiful and great for the community of Eaton, but the high school wasn’t completed on time, which has caused extra stress for students and staff. The blame cannot solely be put on Sampson Construction or RB+B architects, but some ownership must be taken by the people who were put on the job.

The community of Eaton is very proud of the new EHS, but responsibility for errors that were made must be admitted and reconciled. The town of Eaton and its schools have been enveloped with construction for the last three years, which was to be expected. The town of Eaton expected construction to be enveloped in student’s lives after the bond had passed, but a solid end date was also an expectation. Eaton High School exemplifies hard work and the new EHS is a direct result of hard work to give the town of Eaton something to be proud of. 

Eaton High School also preaches the importance of the EATON acronym. E for Excellence, A for Awareness, T for Tenacity, O for Ownership, and N for Noteworthiness. As a whole, the team who were put on the job must also take the Eaton acronym into consideration and must not be unaware of the errors that were made. The students and staff of EHS must be tenacious in having patience for the completion of a beautiful high school, but ownership of missed deadlines and incomplete construction should also be taken by those responsible. 

The blame for the incompleteness of EHS isn’t on Sampson Construction or RB+B architects alone, but they must be aware and take ownership of the challenges they faced to complete a new high school. With the current economic challenges faced and working conditions faced, it was not an easy job, but it’s still one they were hired to do.