BALLINGER - Construction is on-going at all three Ballinger ISD campuses and the clock is ticking to make sure all of the renovations and repair projects are completed before the first day of school on Aug. 23.

BALLINGER - Construction is on-going at all three Ballinger ISD campuses and the clock is ticking to make sure all of the renovations and repair projects are completed before the first day of school on Aug. 23.

A near disaster at the high school science lab and insurance issues with the elementary school gym project have caused some delays, but school officials are confident that most of the projects will be completed by the first day of school.

The renovation projects Ballinger High School and Junior High were planned, however one emergency, a near catastrophic flooding event that struck at the high school science lab three weeks ago, has presented some setbacks.

According to Superintendent Jeff Butts, flooding occurred at the science lab on a Wednesday, three weeks ago, due to a leak from a sink. The water went down into the electrical conduit and even caused a brief fire, Butts said. The damage was estimated at $92,000.

“There was black soot on the ceiling,” Butts said. “It’s a miracle we did not have a fire.”

The incident was discovered the next day, and the water was immediately shut off.

Fortunately, the crews from Mooring Reconstruction Services, the Dallas company handling the projects throughout the district, were there. And, they are accustomed to reconstruction and disaster recovery and responded thusly.

Plus, an electrician who was on the high school campus for the renovation project was able to rewire some things to prevent electricity from being shut down at the campus.

“If this had happened over a weekend, it would have been complete catastrophe,” Butts said.

The science lab and classrooms will be completed by the first day of school.

The district’s insurance provider Texas Association of Public Schools or TAPS immediately approved the repair of the damaged lab and classroom.

Other projects have been on going all summer long and are set to be complete this week, Butts said. The cost of the renovation projects at the high school and junior high totals around $970,000 a budget item approved by the board last year which will be paid for from the district’s fund balance.

Crews are now working on replacing flooring in the high school auditorium and offices. The bathrooms near the auditorium have been remodeled and updated and the entrances of the junior high and high school will be redone to provide more security to both campuses. Visitors must check in at the office at both campuses before they can go down the halls.

“Visitors will have to be buzzed in,” Butts said.

Ballinger High School Principal Robert Webb said added security is a necessity today.

“Because we live in a post Columbine world we are required to take more drastic measures than we have in the past to protect our students,” Webb said. “New security measures are unfortunately necessary.”

Plus, the kitchen has been updated and new flooring is being added to provide better traction for employees. Workers were planning to report to the kitchen/cafeteria on Aug. 15. The kitchen and cafeteria serve junior high and high school campuses.

Crews will be working on the mold remediation at the Ballinger Elementary school gym. On December 28, 2015, high winds peeled the roof almost completely off of the gym, and the facility received more than $150,000 in damage.

The insurance company covered costs for the roof repair and decking, but has disputed the mold forming in the building since July of 2016.

The project has been put on hold due to a dispute with the district’s insurance provider. Butts said the district is moving forward with the project so the gym can be used.

The gymnasium, which is a completely separate building that does not share ventilation with the rest of the elementary campus, has been closed since the issue has been on going. Last year P.E. was held outside, except on days where there was weather, and then it was held in the cafeteria.

“We’ve got to get rid of that mold and get that gym fixed so our kids can have a place to have P.E.” Butts said. “There is no danger to students or staff at the campus.”