This summer, Bend-La Pine Schools unveiled its plans for a revamped, career and technical education-focused Marshall High School, complete with new classrooms and a gym to be finished by late January. But due to difficulties installing heavy-duty roofing panels, the gym’s opening will have to wait until early March at the latest.

Project Manager Hal Beumel, who’s overseeing construction at Marshall, said his team is using new steel roofing panels on the gym that will hold up under heavy snowfall. However, because the panels are stiffer than traditional panels, they buckled along the seams when bolted down, confusing the construction workers who didn’t have much experience with these materials.

“The decking we used is not average; it’s thicker than normal, so you had some folks that had to work through how to make it work, and it took about three weeks, believe it or not,” Beumel said. “We finally got it done, … but it does put a crimp in your schedule.”

According to Beumel, the roof had to be completed before many interior aspects of the gym could be added, such as the wood flooring, so the weather doesn’t negatively affect the work.

However, the specialized classrooms will be finished on schedule, he said, at some point between the end of the month and early February. Marshall Principal Sal Cassaro said half of the building will be used for teaching construction trades like HVAC installation, plumbing and cabinetry, and the other half will be used for engineering-focused classes where students will learn about 3D-printers and solar energy.

Cassaro said his students are itching to dive into these subjects, as the kids have only been able to partly explore them, with some equipment still wrapped in cellophane waiting for their new classrooms.

“We’re trying to make it work because we thought we would be ready earlier, but it’s not optimal,” he said. “The kids are excited, we’re excited, and we’re going to be a little bit more patient.”

Even though furniture won’t be delivered to the new classrooms until mid-February, Cassaro said Marshall is going to use its new classrooms “as soon as we can.”

The gym and classrooms are expected to cost about $6.9 million and are part of Bend-La Pine Schools’ plan to expand Marshall by about 200 students.

Once the gym and classrooms are finished and occupied in March, Marshall will host a ribbon-­cutting event for the public to show off its new buildings. Cassaro said he wants to wait until the school is fully up and running and cleaned up, as the campus currently has construction materials filling the parking lot.

Marshall was an alternative high school for Bend-La Pine for a quarter-­century until this school year, when Cassaro became the school’s principal and it became a career and technical education magnet school. Cassaro said the school may be renamed Bend Tech Academy at Marshall soon, but the name change is not official yet.

— Reporter: 541-617-7854,