Letter: Building problems are being addressed

By now, you have likely heard about several issues at the school that have come up recently. I am writing to clarify what these issues are and let you know about the efforts to fix the problems. Hopefully this information will help keep the lines of communication open so the community can understand what is happening.
I will first address the issue in the gymnasium. We discovered that there has been some movement in the east wall of the gym. We were made aware of this issue on Oct. 5 and we closed the gym on Oct. 6 as a safety precaution. Although no students were ever in any immediate danger at the school, we felt that it was prudent to close the gym in light of the worst case scenario. In addition, closing the gym gives the workers an environment in which they will not have to account for students in the area. All activities that were to take place in the gymnasium over the next couple of weeks have been rescheduled for a different location.
The obvious question is what happened to the wall? The earth on the outside of the wall was putting more pressure than anticipated against the wall and it was causing the wall to lean in. This pressure has damaged some of the connection points between the wall and the roof. A temporary fix has been put into place to secure the roof to the wall. Work began this past weekend on the permanent solution. The soil on the outside of the wall has been excavated and the wall will be reset to its correct position. The connection points will be replaced or fixed as is necessary. We will open the gym again once the work is completed to the point that we can assure everyone’s safety. Unfortunately, I do not have a date of when we will be able to have students return to the gym.
A second issue that you likely have noticed is some work going on out in the parking lot and drive lane just across the bridge from Ute Road. This is in response to finding wet spots in the parking lot after periods of heavy rain or watering. The Neenan Company believes that this is due to water being retained in the landscaped islands in the parking lot. This water is leaking out underground and travels downhill. When it finds a spot where it can surface again, it is coming back up through the asphalt. Neenan is installing drains in these islands that will connect with the main drain to move this water to the retention pond. Our understanding is that this should alleviate the water issues in the parking lot. This is the reason for the cut that was made in the asphalt last week.
All of the work that is being done at the school is covered by the warranty that is guaranteed under our contract with The Neenan Company. This means that the school district, and therefore you the taxpayer, is not paying for the work to correct these situations.
The students are always our first concern at Meeker Elementary and I can assure you that they are completely safe at school. There have been many different rumors going around the community about the reasons for the problems, the extent of the issues and what the solutions are going to be. If you have any questions at all about what is happening or would like to verify something that you have heard, please come by the school, call or e-mail me with your concern. Thank you for your confidence in all of us here at Meeker Elementary. It is an honor to serve the children of this community.
Jason Hightower, principal
Meeker Elementary School