Wednesday, September 26, 2018
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20180829 AgPavilionThe $1.1 million cattle pavilion at Sharyland’s Pioneer High School is expected to be completed within the next few days, more than four months after its projected completion date.

Last December, the Sharyland School Board of Trustees approved a contract to the McAllen-based NM Contracting LLC to expand the cattle pavilion at Pioneer.

Used by students in the Future Farmers of America club, large cattle are housed in the pavilion and campus officials hope to nearly double the pavilion to store an additional 30 head as well as adding a restroom for students and fans to ventilate the area, Sharyland Times reported when the contract was awarded.

As previously reported, the $1.1 million contract was awarded after the school board heard the firm could finish the project by April, or roughly 120 days. The other companies submitting bids estimated it would take 150 days to complete the project.

After several hiccups, Sharyland Maintenance Director, Mark Dougherty said Monday the project could be completed by Friday.

“Hopefully it will be completed within the next few days,” Dougherty said. “Things unfortunately happen but from what [NM Contracting] told us they’re not completely finished.”

Dougherty’s comments came a week after a school board workshop where representatives with NM Contracting met with the school board.

At that workshop, trustees spent nearly 20 minutes grilling NM Contracting President Noel Munoz on the delay in construction.

“This is a project that we awarded to you all with expectations that this would be done in April, or May at the latest,” Trustee Ricky Longoria told Munoz. “I’ve heard about 30 day delays, and we were generous in granting them to you earlier this summer, but we’re way beyond 30 days. I really don’t understand how this happened.”

A post on NM Construction’s website dated May 16 shows a photo of the construction of the pavilion, in which only the foundation of the building is laid out.

Munoz did not respond to multiple requests for comment, but at that workshop he told the board that the firm attempted to receive a certificate of occupancy with the city of McAllen, as well as issues with septic tanks, played a role in the delay of construction completion.
According to Munoz, the firm ordered the wrong kind of septic tanks for the pavilion and didn’t realize it until after they had installed them.

“We’ve had some problems but I think we’ve finally resolved it,” Munoz told the board, adding that the pavilion would be completed and finished by the end of last week.

During Monday’s school board meeting, Dougherty informed the board that over the weekend, NM Contracting had installed ramps along the pavilion and the proper septic tanks.

In the next few days, cattle pens and student lockers would be installed in the pavilion before students could be able to use it by next week, Dougherty said.

“You’re going to have a facility that will house nothing but our large cattle, “ Dougherty said. “We’re excited it’s getting completed, it’s going to be a big benefit to the campus and will free up the existing facility to house the smaller animals.”

For school board Trustee Noel O. Garza, the project was unusual as this is the first one the current school board has been involved in where the completion had been delayed by months.

“If it really is done by Friday, good for NM,” Garza said. “But there’s been no communication with the contractor and administration regarding a definitive timeline and it’s frustrating for the administration and board members, as well as students who want to use this facility.”