Parents and Nebo School District officials are wondering who will pay for major setbacks in the building of Spanish Fork Junior High School.
The building's footings and approximately 20,500 cubic yards of fill dirt had to be removed and replaced after the soil was found to be inadequately compacted.Superintendent Denis Poulsen said if the weather cooperates the $11 million school might be finished close to the original completion date, but that is an optimistic estimate.
Because of pending litigation neither Poulsen nor Brent Hawkins, director of operations, would give the name of the company that did the original ground work.
Spanish Fork resident Johanna Flynn asked at a recent school board meeting who will pay for the mistake. At the meeting she said she was representing several concerned citizens.
"The district does not intend on the taxpayers having to pay for the delay costs and mistakes," said Hawkins. "Our plans are to recoup any cost that the delays have caused from the responsible people."
He said a court will have to decide who is responsible. The school district will not file suit until after the building is completed, he said.
Hawkins explained that to build up the building pad, soil engineers brought in nine to 10 lifts of dirt. Each lift is 12 inches deep. After every lift is put in, engineers test it for compaction.
When all the soil was in place the engineers tested it and said it was approved at 95 percent com-pac-tion.
A problem became apparent when Grammoll Construction began digging trenches for the building's footings. Hawkins said the trenches were sloughing when they were supposed to have firm, clean sides.
Hawkins said the district hired an independent soil engineering company and then a second independent company to test the soil. Both companies found the soil was not compacted properly.
Had the construction continued, Hawkins said, the building would have sunk as much as nine to 10 inches in various spots.
"It could have gotten by us really easy," he said. "I think the positive note here is that it was discovered when it was discovered."
The Spanish Fork Junior High School site is near the current Spanish Fork Intermediate School, the most crowded school in the district. The junior high is being built to ease crowding.