CANCO helps break ground on Fort Madison school upgrades

CANCO helps break ground on Fort Madison school upgrades Chris Smith, vice president of operations for Carl A. Nelson & Company in Burlington, makes remarks during a groundbreaking ceremony July 12 at Fort Madison High School. The construction management team from Carl A. Nelson & Company will lead construction of new facilities at the site for students in grades 7 and 8. The upgraded new facility for junior high and high school grades will facilitate relocation of pre-kindergarten through grade 4 to the current middle school, creating a new PK-6 campus. (CANCO photo)

4 weeks, 1 day ago

FORT MADISON, Iowa — In what Superintendent Dr. Erin Slater called "a monumental, celebratory event," the Fort Madison Community School District ceremonially broke ground July 12, 2022, on high school and middle school building projects that will create separate Pre-K through sixth-grade and junior/senior high campuses.

Groundbreaking ceremonies were conducted at both sites, with the construction management team from Carl A. Nelson & Company (CANCO) joining officials, administrators, teachers, staff, representatives of the district's architectural firm, DLR Group, and others to celebrate the start of the $35 million, two-year school building project.

"We're very proud to have the opportunity to serve as the construction manager for these additions and renovations," said Chris Smith, vice president of operations for CANCO in Burlington, and project executive for the project. Smith, along with Project Superintendent Randy Harris and Project Engineer Alan Schock, joined architects, administrators and board members in turning dirt at the ceremonies.

"Congratulations to all of you on the start of these very exciting projects," Smith added.

Smith expressed his gratitude on CANCO's behalf for being awarded the construction management agency contract by the district in 2021, and credited the architects and the district's leadership team and administrators for their "remarkable passion" to pursue construction despite significant headwinds, which Board President Dianne Hope noted in her remarks at the middle school site as including a previously failed bond issue, COVID shutdowns, rising material costs, long-lead delivery dates on equipment and materials, and construction labor shortages.

Contractors and the CM team from CANCO will "work diligently," Smith said, "to complete on-site grading and underground pipe installation in order to have foundations poured before winter cold sets in. Smith explained that almost 80% of the construction cost of the project has been contracted to builders located within 30 miles of Fort Madison. 

"You have very much to be proud of here," Smith said.

Slater, speaking at the middle school, noted that after six years of planning, the community's youngest students deserve new, inviting and collaborative spaces to prepare them for their future.

"We are pleased and thrilled and relieved to be at this site today," Slater said.

In remarks at the high school, Hope cited the "tremendous amount of community support" for the construction project, which is set for completion in August 2024 and will result in the closure of Lincoln and Richardson elementary schools in Fort Madison. She credited members of the district's Ad Hoc committee for developing the two-campus plan, and teachers, administrators and staff for contributing to the detailed plans that will be constructed.

Fort Madison School Board members, district administrators, representatives of architectural firm DLR Group and Carl A. Nelson & Company's construction management team prepare to turn shovels during a groundbreaking ceremony at Fort Madison High School. (CANCO photo)


Superintendent Dr. Erin Slater opens the groundbreaking ceremony at Fort Madison High School. (CANCO photo)

Past members of the Fort Madison School Board and current members of the administrative team participate in the ceremony at the middle school. (CANCO photo)

Fort Madison High School mascot Roxy joins current and future Fort Madison students in the groundbreaking at the middle school. (CANCO photo)


<b>This rendering provided by the architects at DLR Group shows the new front entrance of Fort Madison High School following completion of additions for grades seven and eight.</b> DLR Group image
This rendering provided by the architects at DLR Group shows the new front entrance of Fort Madison High School following completion of additions for grades seven and eight. DLR Group image
<b>This DLR Group rendering shows the new front entrance of the current Fort Madison Middle School once additions are completed to accommodate pre-kindergarten through fourth grade in a new Pre-K to 6 campus.</b> DLR Group image
This DLR Group rendering shows the new front entrance of the current Fort Madison Middle School once additions are completed to accommodate pre-kindergarten through fourth grade in a new Pre-K to 6 campus. DLR Group image