After getting through a wet and wild June virtually unscathed, construction on the Saskatchewan Energy Training Institute remains on schedule.
Earlier this year officials from the institute warned that a significant amount of rain in June could have a huge impact on the pace of construction at the $14-million facility. As has been well documented, June turned out to be one of the wettest months in Estevan's history.
Despite the seemingly endless rainfall, the army of contractors who have been hard at work at the institute's location in the Glen Peterson Industrial Park are still on target to hit the deadline of Oct. 31, when they are expected to have "substantial completion."
The institute's director, Keith Madu, said the project's contractor Quorex Construction has done a good job managing timelines and getting all of the necessary trades people on site.
"We've got the HVAC guys, the sprinkler guys, the electricians, the guys working on the outside, cement crews … there are a lot of people on our site," said Madu.
While the work of Quorex has been critical, Madu said another key factor was getting the cement floor on the second level of the ETI poured. He said that allowed the various trades to get cracking on a number of important jobs and keep everyone on schedule.
"Around the building they were also able to get their scaffolding set up even though the grounds were wet. They invested in matting and have been working off the matting. They have really been working around the problem."
Madu added that after hindering them somewhat in June, the weather has helped their cause in July as the warm temperatures have allowed them to move onto another major job: the pouring of the cement floor on the main level of the institute.
"That has become our make-or-break (project) for our deadline," Madu said of the main-floor concrete. "All the other trades were doing the work on the second floor, but because the centre of the building is quite an open concept, they need to bring in, whether it's scaffolding or scissor lifts in, to be able get at the roof and the different sections of the building. They can't do that until the concrete is poured. Our trades have caught up, and they need to get at the main floor so they can continue working.
"We are about a third poured of the concrete on the main floor. The goal is by the end of the month to have a complete first floor."
Despite their recent successes Madu cautioned they still have a major challenge but he remains confident they will hit the mark.
"We are still on a really tight timeline. There is no doubt about it, we are in a crunch for time to meet that date. But Quorex, we talked to them and said if there is a problem we need to know about it and they are saying we are still good for October 31."
Madu said provided they hit the deadline and are able to use November as time to move from their current location in the Estevan Comprehensive School and prepare the ETI for students, there is a chance they could run some one or two day courses in December.
Along with construction, fundraising is another major focus for the Southeast Regional College. Although he is not directly involved with that aspect of the project, Madu said those dealing with raising money for everything from furniture to educational tools have been receiving a good response from the local business community.
"The fundraising program is not just strictly write us a cheque for cash. We have some companies where their donation could be some equipment, services of theirs. I know things are moving forward."