Brookfield school officials are trying to decide what direction to take in addressing the shifting shale that is lifting the floor and cracking walls in the middle school, and the ventilation problem that is causing roof shingles to crack prematurely.
Officials are considering two options: a game plan advised by the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission, the successor to the Ohio School Facilities Commission which was the district’s partner in building the school complex in 2011, and going it alone.
They also are mulling whether they have a case to take legal action against any of the designers or contractors hired for the project.
OFCC is steering the district away from litigation, “Mostly because of the cost associated with it,” Treasurer Craig Yaniglos said Nov. 20. “Plus, there was some stuff about the contracts that were signed years ago, with all schools, not just Brookfield.”
OFCC also is recommending bringing back the consultants hired for the original project, but a possible downfall is that those consultants might have contributed to the problems the district is experiencing, officials said.
“We have been patient and deferential to the experts and advisers, up to this point, trying to play nice with Ohio,” said board President Kelly Carrier.
District officials also are talking with an attorney who has a background in engineering and is recommending bringing in a set of experts unrelated to the companies who worked on the original project.
“What they’re suggesting is that we bring in these different folks to look at the project, because, he said, the people that he’s suggesting we talk to he has worked with before and they do a real good job of pinpointing the problem, which has been something that we’ve been dealing with,” said Superintendent Velina Jo Taylor. “It’s been pretty speculative, up to this point, what exactly is the issue.”
The district has hired CTL Engineering of Akron to monitor the movement of the shale. A different geotech firm consulted on the construction and the failed 2013 repair attempt.
The attorney is sending a letter of engagement that would outline terms of hiring, but board members said they want to meet with the attorney before making a hiring decision.
Even if the attorney is hired, Yaniglos said he would not recommend breaking with OFCC.
The attorney “did indicate that it’s still in our best interest to work with the OFCC and get them on board, since it’s really a shared building, and to kind of talk to them about what our plan is and try to, even though it’s not really what they’re recommending right now, to kind of get them on board with us,” Yaniglos said. “It would be far more effective to do it that way. That’s in a best-case scenario.”