Whenever you stick a shovel in the ground, you never know what you’re going to find. Or, in the case of the Brookfield Middle School remediation project, what you might not find.
Construction workers with Schirmer Construction Inc. reported that some downspout drains that were identified on architectural drawings were missing, said school Supt. Toby Gibson.
“I think they’re gonna stick a camera in them and see where exactly they go to,” Gibson said of the water that was supposed to be conveyed by the drains. “They’re not quite sure where it goes.”
That investigation will be documented and presented to school and Ohio Facilities Construction Commission officials and their attorneys, Gibson said. “It could be added on” to a pending lawsuit the school district and OFCC have filed against the original architect of the school building and a soil consultant.
OFCC was the school district’s partner in the construction of the school, which opened in 2011.
The remediation project is being undertaken to address shale that has been exposed to moisture and is shifting under the middle school, causing the hallway to lift and walls to crack.
In some areas around the school, shale is only a foot below the surface, construction workers said.
Schirmer installed six catch basins and new drainage pipe. If shale was exposed during the installation, it was coated with foundation tar to try and insulate it from water before the excavations were filled in.
Schirmer also dug a shallow trench along the outside of the building, which was filled in with concrete, making a sloped hard surface that will direct water away from the building and into the catch basins, Gibson said.
Next spring, after school lets out, construction crews will be back to repair the inside of the building, Gibson said.
The work progression has been “good, considering we’ve had great weather and then all of a sudden it’s snowing and you’re digging outside,” Gibson said on Oct. 20. “Now they have shovels in the grounds, they’re working, they’re hustling.”
Gibson thanked his staff for being patient while the work was going on.
“It’s not ideal to work outside windows while you’re trying to teach,” Gibson said. “Everybody’s handling it pretty well.”
Middle school teacher Megan Rodgers said her students were distracted at first, but now aren’t paying much attention to it.
“We’ve been waiting for this 11, 12 years,” Gibson said. “You just have to be patient. It is what it is. We’re not gonna complain.”