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Concerns raised about Morrison gym
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Concerns were voiced about the upside down roof joists in the new Morrison School gym during Monday’s monthly meeting of the full Warren County Commission.
“I understand there are problems with Morrison School and everybody is supposed to sign off on that,” said County Commissioner Joel Akers. “My question is what if they go bankrupt in 10 years? Do we have anything in place? Are they bonded?”
Bringing about concern is the resolution to the joists of the school’s gym being placed upside down by a subcontractor of Biscan Construction, the overall project contractor. By the time the problem was discovered, the roof had been installed and the joists welded to the metal sheeting.
By the contractor’s estimate, it would take four to six weeks to remove the joists, flip them, and re-weld them in place correctly, while installing extra vertical supports and shoring diagonal supports to ensure proper load-bearing specifications are met could be done in a fraction of that time.
Akers says his concern is that of safety for the children in the school if the roof does not have the same design capacity it would have had before the joists were wrongly placed.
“What if it collapses and kills 500 students?” he asked.
To ease that concern, Director of Schools Dr. Jerry Hale said, “As I understand it, the roof will be better reinforced than it would have been originally. The engineers are telling me it will be better and have more support than it should have.”
Dr. Hale agreed to the time-saving measure proposed at a recent School Board meeting only if:
• documentation is given stating codes have been met;
• documentation the proposed modifications will not cause a reduction in the original design capacity;
• certified welders perform the work;
• a letter that all welds have been tested and are acceptable is provided by GeoServices;
• a final inspection by project engineer Chris Myers states all modifications have been done to his satisfaction.
When it comes to Aker’s concern, the school contracts for projects such as this after a competitive bid process which includes the company providing documentation that it is bonded and insured, says Hale.
“They are bonded and insured,” Hale said. “We don’t take bids from anyone who is not. That may be a question for Mr. Stacy (assistant Warren County attorney) or Mr. Stanley (Warren County attorney) to answer, more than myself. Anyone can go bankrupt. That can happen.”
Along with being insured and bonded, the project comes with a 25-year warranty on the work. The school’s warranty will remain intact despite the joist situation.
The School Board has yet to accept the plan that would allow the problem to be corrected with more supports.