Construction on track for major projects in Wichita Falls

Published: Feb. 3, 2023 at 6:12 PM CST
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WICHITA FALLS, Texas (KAUZ) - With four straight days of either freezing rain, sleet or snow, construction crews faced challenges trying to work in these elements.

The MPEC Hotel and Convention Center, the Wichita County Tax Office and Wichita Falls ISD’s two new high schools, Legacy and Memorial, all suffered some sort of setback due to the weather this week, but the representatives with all said they have weather days built into their projects to prevent them from delaying the completion date.

“Any time on a large construction project like this they have weather days built in, so it doesn’t affect the overall completion of the project because they have them built in,” Blake Jurecek, Assistant City Manager for the City of Wichita Falls said.

Construction projects had to work around the winter weather Texoma experienced this week, but crews still found ways to be productive.

“They were running conduits, electrical wires and HVAC systems and stuff like that doing interior work,” Jurecek said.

For the MPEC Hotel and Convention Center, the weather did not push back the expected completion date, which is the end of June this year.

“They actually have four mock rooms complete,” Jurecek said. “They go in and finish them out completely just to let everybody look and see the finishes and let the hotel flagship look at them, as well as the owner. They were very cool to see.”

Another downtown project that is taking place is at the Wichita County Tax Office, where construction is happening on the outside of the building.

“During the weather event, we kind of pulled off of this project a little bit,” Mark Beauchamp, Wichita County Commissioner of Precinct 1 said. “We are still a little ahead of schedule, so we are okay with it.”

Crews were not able to work on the exterior during the bad weather, but Beauchamp said he doesn’t believe it will affect the completion date of early this summer.

“I don’t think it affected the overall schedule at all,” Beauchamp said. “We are still early on in this process as far as the exterior. It was just an unfortunate couple day setback, but we will make it up.”

Wichita Falls ISD said the weather lost them four days of construction for the two new high schools, Legacy and Memorial, but they are still comfortable where they stand because they were ahead of schedule.

“We were about two weeks ahead of schedule at Memorial and we were a little over a week ahead at Legacy,” Dr. Donny Lee, Superintendent of WFISD said. “This shrunk it down because anytime you have a lot of rain and the outside is exposed to the weather, there are some stipulations that the workers can’t go inside the building safely, so it has reduced that two-week cushion to about seven or eight days.”

Although they are still ahead of schedule with the expected completion date still to be in June of 2024, Lee said construction crews will be making up some of the days they lost.

“A lot of those contractors come from out of town, say Dallas, Fort Worth, for example,” Dr. Lee said. “We have several and they haven’t come all week. That will delay them five days, but what they do in those instances is they work on the weekends. The job superintendent said they are working today, they will work Saturday and Sunday to try and make up some of those days lost.”

If we receive more weather like we did this week, all three representatives said that could cause delays in the overall completion dates. For now, they are taking it one day at a time.