Engineering firm: CMS north wing not up to code | CraigDailyPress.com

Engineering firm: CMS north wing not up to code

Access restricted to parts of north wing; building not deemed to be dangerous

Bridget Manley

An employee of The Neenan Co. works on a mock-up wall in August 2008 during the construction of Craig Middle School. The principal engineer of KL&A, a third-party engineering firm reviewing CMS at the Moffat County School District’s request, found portions of the north wing do not meet building code requirements. The firm doesn’t believe the building is dangerous, but district officials have restricted students from accessing these areas “to reduce all risk to students,” superintendent Joe Petrone wrote in a letter Sunday.





An employee of The Neenan Co. works on a mock-up wall in August 2008 during the construction of Craig Middle School. The principal engineer of KL&A, a third-party engineering firm reviewing CMS at the Moffat County School District's request, found portions of the north wing do not meet building code requirements. The firm doesn't believe the building is dangerous, but district officials have restricted students from accessing these areas "to reduce all risk to students," superintendent Joe Petrone wrote in a letter Sunday.

At a glance …

Moffat County School District officials have restricted access to portions of Craig Middle School following an independent review of the building.

Engineering firm found locker rooms, band and theater storage room, and adjoining hallways not up to building code.

Superintendent: areas scheduled to be open again by Jan. 5, or shortly afterward.

Quotable:

"When things like this occur, and there are ways to make the process better, we make them better and we intend to do that here."

— Andy Boian, a spokesman for The Neenan Co.

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A portion of Craig Middle School is off-limits to students after a structural engineering firm found areas of the building are not up to code.

Students are restricted from the school's locker rooms, band room, theater storage room and adjoining hallway areas, which are located in the building's north wing, school district superintendent Joe Petrone said.

Adults can access these areas only on an "as-need basis," he wrote in a letter Sunday.

The principal engineer from KL&A, a Golden-based firm, reported the issue to district administrators Friday night, Petrone said.

"The engineers at KL&A are not recommending immediate evacuation," Petrone wrote in the letter. "In fact, they do not believe the structure is dangerous."

However, to eliminate any risk to students' safety, they're restricted from areas of the building until they are brought into code compliance, he said.

A KL&A spokesman could not be reached for comment Monday.

The firm found the problem during an ongoing review at the district's request.

The district sought the firm's services after problems were found at other schools built in Colorado by The Neenan Co., the district's general contractor for CMS construction.

A third-party examination of Meeker Elementary School, a Neenan Co. project, revealed the school had a weak roof connection.

It also showed a lack of bracing that left the classroom wing vulnerable to earthquakes and strong windstorms.

Structural issues also were found at Monte Vista High School, another Neenan project, in southern Colorado.

No other structural problems have been found at other schools in the state, said Andy Boian, a spokesman for The Neenan Co.

Monte Vista was "a difference of opinion between two experts — us and a second-party review team," he said.

Although The Neenan Co. disagreed with the firm's conclusion, it agreed to comply with its recommendations, he said.

The district also tasked KL&A with examining an upgrade to the East Elementary School cafeteria, another structural project included in the $29.5 million bond issue package that paid for the construction of CMS and other upgrades throughout the district.

"That was completely reviewed and there's no concerns there whatsoever," Petrone said.

Exactly what it will take to bring CMS up to code has yet to be determined, Petrone said, but the district won't foot the cost of those repairs.

Instead, they will be covered by The Neenan Co., the structural engineering firm that designed the building, he said.

"We believe, as we've said throughout this entire process, that … we're a company that designs and builds safe buildings," Boian said. "And so when things like this occur and there are ways to make the process better, we make them better and we intend to do that here."

District administrators expect the problem to be fixed before the end of winter break, and students should be able to use the entire building when they return to school Jan. 5 or soon after, Petrone said in the letter.

Until then, CMS students and teachers are making adjustments.

Band students will use a secondary gym, Petrone said, and because physical education students won't have access to the locker rooms, "They'll just have activities that perhaps won't require any dressing out."

"Fortuitously, we don't have … any activities scheduled in (the gym) like basketball or extracurricular activities," he said.

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At a glance …

Moffat County School District officials have restricted access to portions of Craig Middle School following an independent review of the building.

Engineering firm found locker rooms, band and theater storage room, and adjoining hallways not up to building code.

Superintendent: areas scheduled to be open again by Jan. 5, or shortly afterward.

Quotable:

“When things like this occur, and there are ways to make the process better, we make them better and we intend to do that here.”

— Andy Boian, a spokesman for The Neenan Co.

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