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The new Deltona Middle School site (next door to the existing Deltona Middle) continues to give headaches to the builders. In August, an unexpected settlement of the subsurface soil cracked newly poured foundations, and affected the integrity of underground plumbing.

The unpredictable ground has already cost the district $584,000 in additional steel pilings, required because of the unexpected depths necessary to reach bedrock.

Workers have been repairing the problems since around December, and are just now prepared to take the next milestone step: walls.

Additional repairs and re-leveling required adding an additional $934,112 to the $51 million budget, but Director of Planning & Business Services Steven Grube was optimistic.

“This project is well under budget. And, even with the execution and approval of this change order, we will still be well below the projected project budget,” Grube said.

Direct purchasing of some products is saving the district $2 million, and the construction company has filed a claim with builder’s risk insurance, which could recoup some of the unexpected expenses.

As to the reasons for the 2 inches of ground settlement: “We really don’t know. We’re still going through a lot of that data and analysis,” Grube said.

Geotechnicians and architects monitored the site at more than 150 points and determined that the “settlement event” had ceased by the end of September.

The real cost may be in the lost time — 239 days have been added to the timeline for construction, pushing the final phase to March 2022, instead of the summer of 2021.

“It’s not ideal to move during a Spring Break, not by any stretch of imagination, but it can be done and it has been done,” Volusia County Schools Superintendent Scott Fritz said.

“Going forward, we will take every precaution to make sure that we are not getting into a situation where it was totally unforeseen. Unforeseen conditions do happen: This happens to be of greater magnitude than we had hoped,” Grube said.

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