Budget busting cost estimates on the fix at the Garfield School are much too preliminary according to Superintendent Paul Dakin.
Engineers and consultants are currently making the conditions safe at the school to keep things safe in the event that another concrete panel falls from the building façade. In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, one panel outside the poolroom fell to the ground – allegedly due to the fact that rusted bolts broke during the high winds.
“There haven’t been enough forensics done to quantify a total cost,” said Dakin. “In the next forensics stage, it will be more evident as to what the fix might cost. Throwing a number out there right now wouldn’t be accurate. If any numbers are being thrown out there, they aren’t grounded in reality.”
At this point, Dakin said the School Department has built a new wall inside the pool room on the exterior wall so that if anything fell off again, it would not do harm to persons inside the pool. The same precautions are being taken outside in the areas under the concrete panels.
After those “make safe” improvements are completed in the next three or four weeks, there will be more forensic investigation on the building and then a design phase.
Following that, cost figures will be discussed and a contractor will be chosen to complete the fix.
“This is absolutely analogous to the situation about eight years ago when we had to re-clad the front outside areas of the Garfield,” he said. “They still are using those panels, but the buildings that used them about 25 years ago are all experiencing the same problems. It’s innate to the system, but it’s exacerbated by the fact that we’re right next to the ocean and saltwater at the Garfield.”
At this point, Dakin said the labor on cursory fixes have been borne in-house. The schools have spent about $15,000 for consultants and engineers.