NBC Montana
Somers Lakeside school district has delayed building an addition to its middle school.

Poor soil conditions force Montana district to delay construction

July 17, 2018
Somers Lakeside district has to relocate planned middle school addition to an area of its campus with better soil conditions.

A district in Montana has had to delay plans to renovate and add on to its middle school because the soil where they had intended to build is unstable. 

NBC Montana reports that soil testing by Somers Lakeside School District 29 has determined that the planned two-story addition at Somers Middle School would sink up to 18 inches in a seismic event if it were constructed at the planned location.

"After further testing and analysis of the samples, our lead architect, Max Grebe, told me the results were 'worse than the worst case-scenario they could imagine," Somers Lakeside School District 29 Superintendent Joe Price said in a message to district patrons.

After Somers voters approved a $15.8 million bond proposal last year, a design committee decided the middle school addition should be constructed to the south of and down a hill from the existing building. 

The soil conditions are forcing the district to find a different site for the expansion.

"It was determined that the best course of action may be to abandon our current plans and redesign an entirely new building to be located on the east side of our property where the soils are better," Price said.

Redesigning the addition is likely to push back the start of construction until spring 2019, the superintendent says. The project still is targeted for completion by August 2020. 

"On the positive side, constructing a new building on the other end of the property should mean less disruption for teachers and students during the process," Price says.

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