That pounding sound that neighbors of the new Bayfield Intermediate School had to listen to this summer was for a good cause.
To build a stable foundation for the new school on Oak Drive, FCI Constructors had to install 380 pipe piles into the ground.
After the pipes were pounded 30 feet into the ground, they will be filled with concrete. The company installed about eight pipes per day.
"That becomes the foundation of the building, to avoid shifting soils," said Marty Zwisler, construction project manager for Bayfield School District.
The middle school across the street has had foundation problems since it was built in 1971, he said.
He and the contractor hope this method will provide a sturdier foundation in the new building.
The new campus for third through fifth grades is being built this year as part of a $39 million bond approved by Bayfield voters last fall. The district received a state grant of $8.5 million to help pay for the construction.
The project also includes a renovation at Bayfield Elementary School, which will house kindergarten through second grade. Bayfield Middle School also is receiving a security upgrade and a larger pick-up and drop-off area. Next summer, Oak Drive will be reconfigured to improve traffic between the two schools, including a roundabout, turn lanes, sidewalks and bicycle lanes.
Bayfield Intermediate was designed with one single level to avoid staircases and an elevator, Zwisler said. There will be separate wings for each grade. A gym is similar to the BHS auxiliary gym, which could be used for a tournament or multiple games at the middle school across the street.
The school will also have an octagonal court for gaga ball, a fast-paced game where if the ball touches a player below the knee, they're out.
Games are fast and get students moving, said Amy Lyons, interim district superintendent.
While the new school can house up to 450 students, about 360 are expected to move in next fall, Lyons said.
The new building will feature a geothermal heating and cooling system, as well. Zwisler said drilling will start on that soon, but it will be a lot quieter than the pipes being pounded into the ground.
"Right now, we're on schedule and on budget," Zwisler said.