Safety concerns prompt closure of new school

The “Do Not Enter” sign at the Meeker Elementary School now applies to students and staff until repairs can be made and safety assured. The Meeker school board directed superintendent Susan Goettel to remove students from the building and modify the 2011-2012 school calendar after structural concerns from an independent review of the building by Structural Consultants Inc., of Denver, raised safety concerns. School will start Sept. 6, 2011 in Meeker but where elementary school students will attend class, is yet to be determined.
The “Do Not Enter” sign at the Meeker Elementary School now applies to students and staff until repairs can be made and safety assured.

MEEKER I Seven weeks after dedicating the new $18 million elementary school built by The Neenan Company, safety concerns about movement of the east wall of the gymnasium forced the closure of the gymnasium from Oct. 6 to Nov. 9 last fall. Now, after an independent review of the new building, school board members made the decision to close the whole building to students because of safety concerns.
The Meeker School District issued the following statement after a special meeting held to discuss the independent review Aug. 6, 2011:
“In view of the information the board has received with respect to the concerns relative to the structural bracing of the elementary school, the board authorizes the superintendent to remove students from the building and take the appropriate steps to provide for their education, including modifying the school calendar.”
More than 25 students attending summer school classes at the Meeker Elementary School, will spend their final week in classrooms at Barone Middle School.
The 2011-2012 school schedule has already been modified, as a “district update” on the Meeker School District’s website (www.meeker.k12.co.us), reads:
“The Meeker School District has been made aware of the structural concerns regarding the Meeker Elementary School. In conjunction with the project team, we are currently developing an action plan to get these issues resolved. The safety of students and staff is our number one priority and we are committed to addressing the issues in a manner that maximizes safety and minimizes the disruption of school operations. The starting date of the school year for all Meeker School District students has been moved (from Aug. 23) to Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2011.”
“The Neenan Company has been made aware of the structural concerns regarding Meeker Elementary School,” company president Randy Myers wrote. “We are currently reviewing the third party structural report and developing an action plan to resolve the issues. The safety of students and staff is our number one priority and we are committed to addressing all issues in a timely manner that maximizes safety and minimizes the disruption of school operations.”
“The concerns are fixable. The school is not sinking and the foundation is stable,” school board president Mary Strang said. “We hope to know more the first part of next week,” Strang said.
Strang said a public meeting will be held when a plan is finalized.