School board members consider causes, remedies for CMS structural issues | CraigDailyPress.com

School board members consider causes, remedies for CMS structural issues

Bridget Manley
From left, Maura O'Neal, a client services manager with Dovetail Solutions, Rob Weappa, client services manager for The Neenan Co., and David Shigekane, Neenan vice president, sit in on a Moffat County School Board meeting Tuesday at the district administrative building. They, along with Brant Lahnert, principal engineer with KL&A, were at the meeting to address board questions and concerns about code violations recently found at Craig Middle School.Bridget Manley

At a glance …

• Representatives from The Neenan Co. and KL&A, a structural engineering firm, met with Moffat County School Board members Tuesday to discuss code violations at Craig Middle School.

• A portion of the roof in the middle school's north wing lacks sufficient lateral support, which keeps the roof from moving sideways in strong winds or an earthquake.

• KL&A principal engineer: Code violation caused by flaw in building's design.

Quotable:

"So, where do we go from here?"

— Sandie Johns, Moffat County School Board president, addressing structural issues at Craig Middle School

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Moffat County School Board members listened Tuesday night as they tried to grasp the finer details surrounding a structural problem at Craig Middle School.

Board members had several questions.

Why does a portion of the roof on the building's north wing fall short of building codes?

How did the issue escape detection when the building was under construction?

And, how will the issue be repaired by the time students return to school after winter break?

David Shigekane, The Neenan Co. vice president, spoke directly to the last question.

"I called back to the home office, and again our commitment is to get you in by the day the school opens" after winter break Jan. 5, he said.

The Neenan Co. was the district's general contractor for Craig Middle School's construction.

The project cost the lion's share of a $29.5 million bond issue Moffat County voters approved in 2007. The rest of the funds paid for upgrades for schools across the district.

The company has come under scrutiny when Meeker Elementary School, another Neenan Co. project, was closed after structural problems were found there.

Other problems surfaced shortly afterward.

Structural concerns were raised at Monte Vista High School, another Neenan project, in southern Colorado.

Although The Neenan Co. disagreed with the conclusions of a review team that examined the building, the company agreed to comply with recommendations.

Structural shortcomings also have been found at a school under construction in Akron, The Denver Post reported.

Superintendent Joe Petrone said he asked KL&A, a Golden-based structural engineering firm, to review CMS immediately after learning about the Meeker school issue through coverage in the Post.

The reason why the roof doesn't meet code is complex, but it boils down to this: The roof lacks the support needed to prevent it from shifting from side to side.

The problem goes back to a flaw in the design, said Brant Lahnert, KL&A principal engineer.

"The design was wrong," he told board members Tuesday.

The problem occurred after changes were made to the original design, he said.

The engineer for the project from Computerized Structural Design — the company Neenan hired to design the building — "wasn't reviewing the latest drawing, for whatever reason," Lahnert said.

Board vice president Karen Stillion asked why inspections conducted throughout the construction process didn't uncover the code issues.

Inspections are the state's responsibility, and the city has no authority over school projects, said Dave Costa, the city's community development director.

Board member J.B. Chapman asked if Diversified Consulting Solutions, Inc., the school district's owner rep for the middle school project, bears some responsibility for not detecting and fixing the problem during construction.

"I think that's a fair point," Petrone said.

After nearly 20 minutes of discussion, board president Sandie Johns posed one of the last questions.

"So, where do we go from here?" she asked.

To remedy the problem, Lahnert said, the roof will have to be retrofitted.

The Neenan Co., Computerized Structural Design or both will pay for the repairs, Petrone has said previously.

In any case, the district won't foot the bill.

Areas of the middle school's north wing — the locker rooms, band room, theater storage room and adjoining hallway — are off-limits to students until the code violation is fixed.

Petrone stressed the restriction is a precautionary measure.

"It's not a dangerous building," he said. "I did not want anyone to think that the engineers were recommending evacuation."

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At a glance …

• Representatives from The Neenan Co. and KL&A, a structural engineering firm, met with Moffat County School Board members Tuesday to discuss code violations at Craig Middle School.

• A portion of the roof in the middle school’s north wing lacks sufficient lateral support, which keeps the roof from moving sideways in strong winds or an earthquake.

• KL&A principal engineer: Code violation caused by flaw in building’s design.

Quotable:

“So, where do we go from here?”

— Sandie Johns, Moffat County School Board president, addressing structural issues at Craig Middle School

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