Repairs at Caprock follow problems at Meeker school

PHOTO BY CHRISTOPHER TOMLINSON—Work such as installing additional bracing and support was done during the Thanksgiving break and will be finished during Christmas break at Caprock Academy, the school’s business director said.

The Caprock Academy building in Grand Junction soon will undergo the last of structural repairs that came about over concerns that the contractor was the same one responsible for a botched Meeker school project.

Dan Sherrill, facilities and business director for Caprock, said the repairs are minor and that the deficiencies discovered during a review of the contractor’s work aren’t life-threatening.

The work is being paid for by designer and builder Neenan Co., which built the facility that the 640-student school relocated to this school year. Neenan also built the year-old Meeker Elementary School, which has been closed to students this year after a review found serious structural deficiencies.

Sherrill said Caprock’s situation is different from the one in Meeker, in which design was done to meet a lower-than-required standard. In Caprock’s case, the structural review found that errors in calculations resulted in instances in which structures weren’t designed to meet requirements that they could withstand a 150 percent safety load factor. Instead, their capacities were slightly less, at perhaps 135 to 140 percent, he said.

Repair work includes additional structural panels on gym walls and additional bracing or support beams to a few other beams and joists in other parts of the building, Sherrill said.

He said some of the work was done during the Thanksgiving break, and the rest should be completed when school is out the week of Dec. 19.

Sherrill said Neenan contacted Caprock in light of the Meeker situation to offer to have the third-party review done. Caprock also hired a third-party inspection company to verify and check Neenan’s remediation work, and Caprock’s own independent construction representative also is assuring there are no structural concerns that would jeopardize students.

Gary Howell, Neenan’s structural engineer for the Meeker project, also was involved with the Caprock project. Neenan recently fired Howell amid reports he had let his license lapse when he was involved with the Meeker work.

Caprock notified parents about the situation with its school in a letter sent Nov. 30.

Meanwhile, the Moffat County School District is having an independent review conducted for Neenan projects that include construction of Craig Middle School and an elementary school cafeteria.

During construction, Neenan covered the cost of fixing a problem that was discovered involving an undersized joist. District Superintendent Joe Petrone said the district felt it had a responsibility to have all of Neenan’s work reviewed in light of the company’s recent problems, but it anticipates a good report.


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