January 25, 2012
Structural repairs are needed at the new $22 million school in Miami-Yoder School District JT60, just as they have been at several others in the state where work was done by Neenan Company of Fort Collins.
The repairs are necessary to bring the building up to regional seismic and wind building codes, said Superintendent Rick Walters. An outside contractor recently reviewed the project at the request of Colorado Department of Education and found the problems.
“There is no imminent danger and the buildings are safe. We are disappointed, but relieved we don’t have to move out,” Walters said.
WJE, the engineering company that examined the building, assured the district that it is safe to occupy.
The district sent a detailed letter to parents and community members outlining the work to be done, noting that “this is to provide temporary stability of the building in event of extreme winds and seismic or earthquake activity that may occur.”
Temporary repairs will be done as soon as the design is finished, before spring break in March.
It will include installation of braces at three outside spots on the wall connecting the library with the central office. Lateral struts will be installed on the west side of the building at the exterior edges of the cafeteria.
Permanent work will be done this summer, including addition of steel bracing in the interior of the building at several locations.
Neenan will pay for the repairs, said Jeremy Story, company spokesman.
The company also is paying for the inspections on 15 schools across the state that have received $150 million in grants from the state’s BEST (Building Excellent Schools Today) program. The program was created to replace Colorado’s crumbling schools, especially in rural areas.
Structural problems have been found in eight districts — all the BEST Projects done by Neenan, state officials said.
After the problems were uncovered, Neenan fired engineer Gary Howell in November. A state regulatory board later suspended Howell's professional engineering license.
Neenan is “stepping up and taking care of this,” Ted Hughes, who heads the BEST program for the Colorado Department of Education, said Wednesday during a BEST board meeting, according to the Denver Post. Board officials said repairs to schools were mostly minor or moderate.
Miami-Yoder’s 71,000-square foot complex houses about 325 students in kindergarten through 12th grade. The overhaul of the facility completed two years ago was accomplished in two phases and made possible by an $18.1 million BEST grant, a $2 million bond, and an old capital construction grant.
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