Primo's 'big deal'

Primo principals Greg and Chuck Parrish look over the plans for the Forks High School expansion with Project Superintendent Corey Smith. The Quillayute Valley School Board this week awarded the $12 million contract to the Carlsborg firm.   Sequim Gazette photo by Mark Couhig

A Carlsborg firm has been awarded the construction contract for the $12 million expansion of Forks High School.

Greg Parrish, one of three co-owners of Primo Construction, said his team is excited by the opportunity to start work on the project. The contract was approved by the Quillayute Valley School Board on Friday, Oct. 8.

Casey Wyatt, project manager for the school district, said while the contract has been awarded, it has not been executed. Wyatt said there's just a little paperwork involved: The district first must file a few forms with the Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction to ensure they state matching funds for the project.

Wyatt is a consultant with OAC Services, a Seattle-based construction and project management firm.

Ready for work

The project will add 43,000 square feet of space to the existing facility, including six new classrooms, new administrative offices, a student library, special needs facility and a multi-purpose gym facility.

A new 3,100-square-foot career and technical education building also will be built.

Parrish says he expects final contract approval this Friday. "We'll probably mobilize next week and put job shacks on the site. It would be nice to beat the winter," he said.

A plan to retain the facade of the old school building still is up in the air. The school was made famous by the "Twilight" novels, though it was never shown in the movies based on the series.

Securing and keeping the wall is an "alternate" in the contract, with Primo offering to shore up the structure for $271,000. The school board has indicated it isn't willing to spring for the expense, but a local foundation has sprung up to raise the required funds.

Parrish said securing the wall is expensive "because of the design of the wall and the complexity of shoring up a 1936 structure."

"In those days they didn't have seismic engineering," he said.

Parrish also noted the safety concerns: "It's a 30-foot wall - and it's at a school."

Local impact

Parrish said the year-long project should have a positive impact on the economy across the peninsula. "We'll hire locals," he said. "We'll put a lot of carpenters, teamsters, operators to work - and they're all union."

Parrish also noted, "We buy tools ... lumber from Thomas' (Building Center), when we get the opportunity. We buy local when we get the opportunity."

Parrish says the new contract "is a big deal for us. With the economy the way it is right now - it's not real conducive to construction."

Flexibility is the key

Parrish said his firm normally operates with a core group of "about 50 employees," with the number sometimes climbing to "a hundred-plus."

He credits the company's success to its flexibility. "We do utility work, excavation or earthwork and we also work as a commercial contractor."

And, he noted, "we work as either a contractor or subcontractor. When there's no building construction there's usually infrastructure work, like roads. And we bid out as subcontractors or contractors."

The company has built a number of high-profile projects, including The Gateway in Port Angeles and the Northwest Maritime Center in Port Townsend.

The company has been in business since 1979.


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