The North Bend Eagle


Alumni playing key role in NBC construction

by Mary Le Arneal
Published 7/23/14

It’s not hard to get Rick Hobza to show off the new construction in the North Bend Central public schools. Hobza, a 1965 graduate of NBHS, serves as the construction representative, or project manager, for the school board. Hobza knows his way around after working in maintenance at the high school and elementary school for 35 years.

“Everything is moving at a pretty fast pace now,” Hobza said.

School boardsNBHS alumnus Rick Hobza demonstrates the sliding white boards the he thinks will help the teachers this fall. He has been overseeing the construction at the NBC schools for the school board.

The construction workers are working with an Aug. 15 deadline for all the essential areas that will be needed when school opens Aug. 26.
In the new science wing all three science rooms have their individual lab stations in place. The lights, sprinklers, fire alarms are being installed before the ceiling is placed.

Hobza and some school board members traveled to see new construction at other schools. At Clarkson they saw sliding white boards, so a teacher can save notes from one class to the next. NBC now has them in the new science rooms.
All the concrete has been poured inside at the high school and elementary school sites.

“That got rid of the mud,” Hobza said.

The new competition gym is waiting for some translucent windows on the top of the south wall. Once they are in place the gym will be sealed up and the air conditioning turned on to get the humidity down.

“They have to get the humidity down to four percent in the concrete before they can start on the wood floor,” Hobza said.

Once wood is laid, there is another 17 to 31 day wait for the floors to season before the bleachers can be installed.

The windows in the activity center at the elementary school were installed last week. Duct work needs to be completed so it can be closed and air conditioner turned on.

The gym and activity center are not under the Aug. 15 deadline.

Another NBC alumnus, Bob Soukup, was involved in the construction when it was still a dream. He is the architect responsible for the design of the additions and renovations to the school facilities. He describes the whole process as exciting.
Soukup, a ‘99 Tiger grad, admits this job feels a little different from others.

NBC labNBC grad Randall Foote oversaw the wiring installed in the new high school science rooms.

“My design process was actually helped by the fact that I once walked the corridors of NBC as a student,” Soukup said. “I already had an understanding of the building layout, functions and routines. Normally I have to rely on the local teachers and administrators to help gather that kind of first-hand information.”

Soukup shares the excitement with the community in the changes in the schools.

“Schools are part of the heartbeat of every community,” Soukup said. “This investment in maintaining and upgrading the school facilities will help ensure that another generation of students will be ready and willing to help next time NBC needs an expansion. Coming in a close second, I think everyone will be thrilled to have a gymnasium with air-conditioning for the graduating class of 2015.”

Randall Foote is a 1994 graduate of NBC. He is overseeing the electrical portion of the construction for Schaefer Electric out of Omaha. He admits it does feel a little different working on his alma mater.

“I treat every job the same,” Foote said, “but I want to just make sure everything is done right (at NBC).”

He adds with a laugh: “I don’t want any errors on that one.”

Foote visits the construction site every week or so. Since he graduated from NBC, he knows how everything works, and sees some familiar faces around.

Mike Heisler, NBC class of ‘87, worked on the construction at his high school. Heisler, who now lives in Elkhorn and works for Fallwitch Construction, did the steel stud work in the new science wing. Heisler did admit that being at NBC brought back memories.

“I looked at the old pictures and stuff,” Heisler said. “Made me realize how old I really am. Who would have thought 27 years later I’d be up there again.”

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