Neenan president apologizes

bobby gutierrez Randy Myers, president of The Neenan Company, apologized to the school board and the community for the current situation at the new Meeker Elementary School at a workshop held in the high school cafeteria Tuesday. The Neenan Company designed and built the new school but designed the building with an occupancy category of I instead of a category III, the required code for schools. Myers said the repair project is his company’s number one priority, at no additional cost to the taxpayers for the inconvenience.
Randy Myers, president of The Neenan Company, apologized to the school board and the community for the current situation at the new Meeker Elementary School at a workshop held in the high school cafeteria Tuesday. The Neenan Company designed and built the new school but designed the building with an occupancy category of I instead of a category III, the required code for schools. Myers said the repair project is his company’s number one priority, at no additional cost to the taxpayers for the inconvenience.

MEEKER I With the Meeker High School cafeteria serving as the new board room, more than 50 taxpayers joined the Meeker Board of Education, The Neenan Company, SCI, Inc., and Vanir for a public workshop Tuesday to discuss the current status of the new elementary school, the needed repairs and a timeline for completion.“It’s important that we have accurate information,” school board president Mary Strang said at the beginning of the workshop. “The overriding goal of the board is to find out what is wrong and to fix it.”Jim West of Vanir, the school district’s “owner’s rep” said the repair designs by SCI are almost finished and will be sent to the state next week for building permits. West asked the school board to authorize The Neenan Company to start working on the repairs once the permits are received.West also said the structural report completed by SCI will be posted on the school district’s website, as well as the presentation given by SCI and the repair drawings, for anyone who would like to read them.Wayne Muir, president of SCI, said the repair drawings are “95 percent” complete. All drawings and calculations will be  reviewed by an independent company and by The Neenan Company. The Neenan Company, as the engineers of record on the project, will have to approve and accept the repair designs.According to Muir, the occupancy category for a school should be a III, as required by the International Building Code of 2006, but The Neenan Company designed the building with an occupancy category of I. The mistake was not recognized until Aug. 2, 2011, when the board decided to remove students from the new building because of safety concerns.Randy Myers, president of The Neenan Company, apologized to the school board and the community for the mistakes and said Meeker’s elementary school is his company’s number one priority.“The primary focus has been to get the building repaired correctly and completely as quickly as possible to get kids safely back into the building, not pointing fingers. We can deal with that down the road,” West said in the workshop.The repairs include additional structural bracing on both the first and second floors. The footings in the foundation will need additional concrete in 11 places to handle the increased loads. Mid-March 2012 is the estimated date of completion for the repairs.School board member Paul Nielson asked Myers “what is Neenan’s stance on the additional expenses?” Myers replied, “We want to make you whole in the end and do what’s right for the school, the board and the community.”Board member Jerry Oldland said he is “extremely disappointed because nothing was done with the slab floor,” which has areas with cracks between it and the foundation. “I’m hoping there is not something else that causes problems down the road after warranty.”It was decided that a geo-tech company will complete additional soils tests before any repairs are made, since the repairs are based on the original samples.Taxpayer Gary Zellers said he was “madder than hell,” that the building was designed as a category I instead of a category III and wanted to know the difference in cost between the two categories.“The school did not pay for something they did not get,” West said.“We can’t change what happened. A terrible mistake was made but the buck stops here,” Strang said.