R-II still waiting on panel needed to complete East Elementary School addition

By John Rohlf, Staff Writer
Posted 10/31/23

The Wright City R-II School District is working on a backup plan to finish the East Elementary School addition in Foristell, MO, after learning an electrical panel remains delayed.

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R-II still waiting on panel needed to complete East Elementary School addition


The Wright City R-II School District is working on two separate plans to get the electrical panel needed for the East Elementary four room addition after it did not arrive like expected last month. 

The Wright City R-II district expected to receive the panel in the last week of September. The district as of last week still had not received the panel. 

“We were told last month that the panel shipped,” Wright City R-II Board of Education President Austin Jones said. “And then obviously, it didn’t. So maybe as you talk to us and give us your little update here, explain to us the process that you’re going through trying to figure this out and what we can expect going forward. I think that will answer a lot of those questions.”

Representatives of Aspire, the general contractors for the project, provided an update to the board at last week’s Board of Education meeting. 

They confirmed they initially were told the panel would be ready in July. After the panel did not arrive in July, they were told it would arrive in August

The panel also did not arrive in August. 

“That’s when we started to really start to get, ok, we’ve got a problem here,” Grant Krueger of Aspire Construction Services said. “We’ve got to start to really tighten down on these guys. We’ve got to try to figure out where this is and what’s gonna happen with this panel.”

Krueger said at that point, they reached out to other entities involved with the panel to try to determine when they would receive the panel. Aspire received verbal communication last month that they would receive the panel in the last week of September. The panel did not arrive in late September. 

Krueger said the lack of available brackets is causing the delay. 

“The holdup is there are four brackets that hold the breakers in place to the bus bar on the panel,” Krueger said. “And it’s a UL listing rated piece. So in order for the panel to maintain its UL listing, these brackets are very specific and have to be obtained. They’re having trouble being able to source those brackets.” 

Up until this point, Aspire was banking on receiving the panel to be able to complete the project. Krueger said they are open to alternative options, including tapping into the secondary market. There are temporary panels that could also be used. 

“I just can’t sit here in front of you all and tell you that we’re two months out, we’re six weeks out. We’re four days out. I just don’t know,” Krueger said. 

Krueger said the concern with utilizing the secondary market is they will not have a warranty plan that would come with the panel.

Multiple R-II board members supported looking into alternative options. Board Vice-President Erin Williams supported investigating an alternative method, stating “this is ridiculous.” 

Board member Heidi Halleman thinks the district needs to find another solution. 

 I’m in construction, I’m in manufacturing, I’m in distribution,” Halleman said. “You have zero control. And I am sorry, but we’ve got to do something else. That’s my opinion.”

Wright City R-II Superintendent Dr. Chris Berger said earlier this week there is now optimism the panel may arrive in the near future. Berger received communication from Aspire Oct. 23 that they may have a ship date for the panel. 

Berger said the district will work on putting plans in place for both if the panel arrives or if they need to proceed to an alternative option. 

“We will work on both those at the same time,” Berger said. “We’re going to hope that we get the panel maybe by the time the November board meeting rolls around and we’re at least we’re working toward opening the four rooms. But the whole time until we get that new panel in hand, we’ll be working on Plan B, too.”

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