WENATCHEE — Lydig Construction turned its 1,100-cubic-yard mountain into a molehill — or at least a smaller mound — in the space of a week.
The Wells Hall mountain on the Wenatchee Valley College campus appeared in February as the contractor started digging out the basement for the new three-story, 74,000-square-foot Wells Hall. Four wings of the old structure, built in 1951, were demolished in January to make way for the new building that will include 25 classrooms, offices, a conference center and the Chelan County Emergency Operations Center.
“The dirt has really been moving the last week or so,” WVC Vice President of Administrative Services Brett Riley said Tuesday. “If I recall, last Tuesday, the mountain was pretty well intact.”
The Wells Hall mountain, intact, was visible from most of the campus, blocking the usual view from Fifth Street into the central campus square and fountain.
Capital Project Manager Charlie Robb said the dirt suitable for use as backfill was kept onsite until it was needed.
“Backfilling on the north side of the basement began the last week of May, with backfilling occurring in stages as sections of basement walls were completed,” he said. About 800 cubic yards of dirt were to be reused and 300 cubic yards carried away.
Riley said the project has remained pretty much on schedule and budget despite weather and the pandemic.
“We’ve had no major hiccups to date, knock on wood,” he said. “We have adjusted the construction schedule by up to 17 days due to COVID, but that has been largely done as a preemptive measure at the outset of the COVID-19 epidemic. Lydig did a great job responding to the PPE and testing requirements set by the state for construction. A lot of credit to them for keeping the project rolling as an essential project.”
The $37 million project is currently scheduled to be finished in summer 2021. Wells Hall’s fifth wing, which wasn’t demolished as part of the project, is now a standalone building that houses the campus theater and ceramics program.
Robb said the foundation work is the project’s next phase, which will provide something new for passersby to track.
“A 200-foot crane will be on site this Thursday to start installation of structural steel in the northeast corner of the building,” he said.