15 Colorado schools built by company need corrective action

Jan. 26, 2012
Each of the projects received funds from state grant program to makes buildings safer

From The Denver Post: Structural issues of varying degrees of seriousness have been identified in every Neenan Co. school project in Colorado that has received money through a state grant program meant to make school buildings safer. "Corrective actions" are being carried out at each of the 15 school buildings at various stages of completion in eight districts, officials told the board that oversees the Building Excellent Schools Today program.

EARLIER...from The Denver Post: Companies that take part in a Colorado grant program dedicated to making school buildings safer are likely to face greater scrutiny because of construction problems linked to one contractor. State Treasurer Walker Stapleton says he will press for more thorough reviews of companies taking part in the Building Excellent Schools Today program — which provides money to mostly rural districts to replace and fix dilapidated schools — as questions continue to mount about the Neenan Co. Meanwhile, the structural engineer on the project that first caught the attention of state regulators — an elementary school in Meeker — is defending the building as safe and well-designed. DECEMBER 2011...from The Denver Post: The agency that oversees school construction in Coloradowill expand its investigation of structural engineering on past projects beyond schools built by one company, the division's head says. Expansion of the inquiry comes as a potential construction problem was found at another school built by the Neenan Co., which is under scrutiny because of unsafe conditions that closed one of its schools and more minor issues at other campuses. The latest concern at a Neenan school was discovered at York International School, a renovated and expanded Mapleton Public Schools building that was dedicated just this week in Adams County.

Earlier...from The Denver Post: Structural deficiencies have been discovered at two more Colorado schools constructed by the Neenan Co., new evidence that inspections of the company's work are unearthing a pattern of problems at schools built by the company. In Moffat County, a wing of 2-year-old Craig Middle School was closed to students this week after it failed to meet building codes. And on the other side of the state, in Akron, a third-party review requested by the state determined that a school under construction needs foundation work and other strengthening. In both cases, Neenan has agreed to pay for repairs. Structural issues have been identified in at least six Neenan-built schools, but none on the scale of the campus in Meeker, which was found to be built to the wrong safety codes and susceptible to collapse in extreme weather.

From The Denver Post: Revelations that a new, $18.9 million school in Meeker, Colo., was built to dangerously substandard levels have raised questions about the adequacy of Colorado's school design oversight. State officials are waiting for the results of examinations of other school construction projects before they can determine whether this was an aberration or the sign of a larger problem.

NOVEMBER 2011... from The Denver Post: A recently built grade school in Meeker (Colo.) School District RE-1is sitting empty because of mistakes by the company that designed and constructed it. Children attended classes in the $18.9 million building for an entire school year before it was deemed unsafe to occupy. The first sign that something was wrong with Meeker Elementary School came in October 2010, when dirt piled outside the gym caused a wall to lean a few inches. When an outside firm reviewed the structural integrity of the school nine months later, much deeper problems became apparent: The school had been designed with a building-code standard used for storage sheds and was at risk of collapse in severe weather. The Neenan Co., the design-and-build firm the district hired, has acknowledged making mistakes and pledged to pay for repairs.

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