Sycamore Middle School has a critical foundation problem causing an exterior wall along the sixth grade hallway to lean outward. Settling of the foundation has caused the wall to pull away from the ceiling grid, lean and crack along the interior and exterior extremities.
Cheatham County School Board held a Special Called Meeting Thursday, January 5, to discuss the critical issue. Cal Blacker, Director of Transportation, Maintenance and Custodial stated the foundation problem was significantly worse than it was before students went on Christmas Break.
Prior to the students break, on December 5, (click here to read December 5, 2016 article https://cheathamnews.com/sycamore-middle-school-leaning-wall/) board members were assured there wasn’t an imminent threat to the structural security of the building or of the leaning wall collapsing in on students but should be addressed “sooner rather than later.” If it had been decided the leaning wall was an emergency because it posed a threat to students, property or the building, they could have foregone protocol to advertise for company bids and moved to have repairs done immediately.
Thursday, board members were informed only one company bid was received and students were able to pass notes to one another through a crack, caused by the settling of the foundation, in a classroom wall. Vice Chair John Louallen and board member Jennifer Hamblin voiced strong opposition to leaving students in classrooms with walls leaning and cracking.
“I don’t want students in those classrooms tomorrow,” stated Vice Chair John Louallen.
Chair Kimberly Messer questioned if plans were implemented to remove students from those classrooms, if needed. Blacker replied, “Not at this moment.” Henderson reminded them they’d voted to continue with the bid process instead of declaring an emergency in December.
“I didn’t know until tonight students were able to pass notes between classrooms,” Responded Louallen in response to Henderson’s reminder.
Thursday, Blacker stated he could have the structural foundation and leaning wall assessed Friday, January 6, if they approved the proposed bid.
Messer questioned if it was wise to moved forward with only one bid and without any guarantees it could be fixed. “No guarantees makes me nervous,” stated Messer.
“No company will make a guarantees about lifting a slab of foundation…and we may have more problems, we don’t know what we are dealing with yet,” responded Blacker.
David Bibee requested Blacker check to see if there had been any minimal earthquakes recorded, nearby blasting and if there was a possibility of a sink hole under or near the foundation that could have caused the structural problem. Members agreed it was important, if at all possible, to find out why this happened and if there was a way to prevent it from happening again. He agreed to check and after a unanimous vote and granted approval, Blacker was approved to get the professional assessment.
Once the assessment report it given to board members, it will be decided whether or not to remove students from the classrooms. Any repairs to the wall and foundation will be done when students are not in school. If a threat is found from the assessment Principal Lisa Young will be notified and plans implemented to hold classroom instruction in different locations of the school until the wall is repaired.
***UPDATE WILL BE POSTED AFTER ASSESSMENT IS RECEIVED AND DECISION MADE ABOUT SAFETY OF CLASSROOMS.
(c) Copyright 2017
Read December 5, 2016 School Board Meeting Article Regarding the Leaning Wall here https://cheathamnews.com/sycamore-middle-school-leaning-wall/.