Pieces of music, moved from a nearby office to make way for repairs, lay stacked Tuesday afternoon inside the Craig Middle School band room. The band room was restricted to students after a structural problem was found at the school, but Joe Petrone, Moffat County School District superintendent, said it and other off-limits areas should be ready for students when they return from winter break Thursday.

Photo by Bridget Manley

Pieces of music, moved from a nearby office to make way for repairs, lay stacked Tuesday afternoon inside the Craig Middle School band room. The band room was restricted to students after a structural problem was found at the school, but Joe Petrone, Moffat County School District superintendent, said it and other off-limits areas should be ready for students when they return from winter break Thursday.

Craig Middle School retrofit on track

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Band instruments, chairs and other band equipment stand inside an empty gym Tuesday afternoon inside Craig Middle School. Students practiced inside the gym after KL&A, a structural engineering firm, found a code violation in a portion of the building’s north wing containing the band room, locker rooms, theater storage room and adjoining hallway area.

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Tape blocks off an entrance to a gym Tuesday afternoon inside Craig Middle School. Parts of the school’s north wing were closed to students after a structural engineering firm found a code violation in the building’s north wing, but superintendent Joe Petrone said he expected a certificate of occupancy for the repaired building Tuesday night.

At a glance …

Closed portions of Craig Middle School are on schedule to reopen when students return Thursday from winter break.

Students were restricted from parts of the building’s north wing when an independent review found part of the structure didn’t meet code.

Spokesman: The Neenan Co. is paying for all repairs.

Students returning Thursday from winter break to Craig Middle School may notice something different inside the school’s small gym.

It’s a narrow beam bolted about halfway down the wall. It’s painted white like the rest of the wall, and can be easily overlooked upon casual glance.

As unobtrusive as it looks, this and other changes will allow students to use portions of the school that were restricted to them in early December after an independent review found parts of the building’s north wing didn’t meet code.

Work done to bring CMS up to code underwent inspection Tuesday, and the school should be ready for students when they return from winter break Thursday, said Joe Petrone, Moffat County School District superintendent. If so, the project will have met its projected deadline.

“Like all plans there could be something that would come up, but we don’t foresee any reason why we cannot have the children back” in the north wing by Thursday, he said.

Petrone called for an independent review of the building after structural problems were found at other Colorado schools built by The Neenan Co., a firm based in Fort Collins.

The Neenan Co. served as general contractor for the CMS construction, and a review conducted by the structural engineering firm KL&A found that part of the roof over the school’s north wing didn’t meet building code.

Petrone stressed that the building wasn’t dangerous, but students were restricted from parts of the north wing — namely, the locker rooms, band room, theater storage room and an adjoining hallway area— as a precaution.

The problem can be traced back to a design flaw, said Brant Lahnert, principal engineer and chief financial officer of Golden-based KL&A.

Initially, the small gym on the building’s north wing was designed as a wrestling room, and it was supposed to be the same height as that of the surrounding building. When the design later changed to make the gym taller, the new plans didn’t include the proper lateral support.

“Unfortunately, that’s when a lot of design issues happen — when there’s a change late in the game,” Lahnert said.

Crews from The Neenan Co. were brought in to make the changes necessary to bring CMS up to code.

A representative from KL&A, along with an inspector with the Colorado Department of Public Safety’s Division of Fire Safety, inspected the work Tuesday, Petrone said, and he expected the certificate of occupancy from the state Tuesday night.

Part of the work took place inside the roof, he said, “and we were very fortunate that the weather cooperated throughout the entire time,” he said.

The repairs will come at no cost to the district. Instead, The Neenan Co. is paying for all the work, said Andy Boian, a spokesman for the company.

The school district should receive a final report from KL&A sometime before the Moffat County School Board’s Jan. 26 meeting, and Lahnert said the firm found no other structural problems.

“There are no other issues that we feel need to be addressed,” he said.

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