Meeker Elementary School back in business

The Meeker School District’s 350 or so elementary students have a school of their own again.

Meeker Elementary School reopened last week after being closed all of the last school year due to structural problems.

“I can say that we are back at work and our district is back in its original configuration,” said Superintendent Susan Goettel.

Elementary school grades were parceled out to a number of locations, including Meeker High School, after the school was closed over concerns that it lacked adequate lateral stability to help protect it from wind and earthquakes.

The school opened two years ago and had been designed and built by Neenan Co. Neenan has acknowledged responsibility for structural deficiencies related to its work and has carried out the repairs at its own cost.

The district paid about $128,000 for foundation upgrades related to an improper seismic soil classification used in building the school. The classification considers the ability of earthquakes to travel through soil. The district was reimbursed for $50,000 of what it paid by another company responsible for the improper classification.

Also, Neenan has paid about $412,000 for costs associated with the temporary relocation of elementary-school classes last year.

“As far as the repairs to the (elementary school) building we have not seen any of those dollar figures. I hope that that continues,” Goettel said, referring to Neenan’s absorption of those costs.

The elementary school repairs involved things such as removing walls in order to do structural beam work. The district hired a structural consultant company to oversee Neenan’s repair.

Goettel said the district received its certificate of occupancy from the state Department of Public Safety’s Division of Fire Safety June 13 and began moving back into the school that month.

Goettel said Neenan continues to finish up some remaining work at the school, such as completing repairs to the gym wall where the discovery of lateral movement first alerted the district to problems with the school.

However, “We don’t have any area of the building that is not able to be used. We have full access and we were just excited to start school (Tuesday),” Goettel said.

She said Neenan also is continuing to try to get the Meeker Sanitation District to accept ownership of a sewer line running from the school. The sanitation district has had concerns over whether the line meets its specifications, and Neenan has paid for some repairs, but the district wants more information, including on how the line has been performing, Goettel said.

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