The noncompliance was discovered a couple of weeks ago during a final construction review at 1090 S. Central Parkway, according to Lammersville Unified School District Superintendent Kirk Nicholas, and the California Division of the State Architect — which regulates access compliance — is requiring that those areas be corrected.
“I walked the campus and this area, coming up to about 10 times, and the shift in concrete is often negligible to the eye. However, when they put a digital level on it, it has to meet a certain mark,” Nicholas said. “If it doesn’t say 2.3 or less, then it’s noncompliant. So it’s a standard that meets the ADA requirements, but it comes down to a digital level, and the reading for that particular area is a concern for the board and the district.”
Although several small sections of sidewalk around the school were found to be noncompliant, Nicholas said the biggest area of concern was a section of sidewalk on the southeast side near the softball field and parking lot.
“It’s going to be resolved,” Nicholas said. “It was such a rapid shift, there are some specific questions that need to be answered,” such as who is responsible: the design team, construction crews or oversight.
He said the district hoped to recoup all or most of the money needed to fix the problem once it was revealed who was responsible.
During the school board meeting on Wednesday, trustees criticized officials involved in the construction project about the problem.
“We don’t want to hear excuses,” said trustee Sharon Lampel. “We have a problem. We ordered a product, we bought a product. If this were Macy’s, I’d return it.”
“Residents should be upset,” she said. “That’s $140,000 that could be spent directly on children.”
Trustee Shane Nielson said, “If we can’t pass compliance, we can’t open the school. We need to get it fixed now.”
Harry Smith, a Turner Construction Co. executive, said the process used to construct some of the sidewalks was chosen to save the district money. He said it would have cost $510,000 to import specific materials to go under the sidewalk sites.
“I can’t explain it,” he said. “The stuff is moving and it’s moving a lot. I don’t think it’s done moving.”
Board President David Pombo said he felt appropriate measures weren’t taken during this construction process.
After the meeting, Nicholas said, “This is a compliance issue, and we’re making sure that we’re taking every step possible to make sure that we’re getting the quality product. It’s an unforeseen issue that has to be addressed, and we’re going to make sure we do our due diligence.”
Nicholas said that workers had already begun replacing the problematic sidewalk sections, and the entire repair was expected to be completed by next Friday. That completion deadline gives the district a five-day window before the school is slated to open on Aug. 20.
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