Allison Middle School repairs to be done in time for fall classes

Repairs to 2000 bond work at Allison Traditional Magnet Middle School are expected to be complete in time for the next school year, district leaders said.

Last week the school board approved a $119,500 contract with Martin K. Eby Construction for the demolition of four classrooms and other rooms thought to have structural problems in the floors and walls of the original 1920 building.

After the demolition, engineers will inspect the building and recommend a construction plan, which should be finished by August, said Martin Libhart, the district's chief of operations.

Twelve spaces, including part of the lunchroom, have been closed since the beginning of the school year, forcing teachers to share classrooms.

"We've turned conference rooms into classrooms and shut down the library" for math classes, principal Amy Champlin said.

Concerns about the school's structure arose after structural problems were discovered at Hamilton Middle School, where renovations were designed by the same architecture firm and the same structural engineer using the same method as with Allison, district officials said.

As part of the $284.5 million 2000 bond issue, Allison underwent a $6.7 million renovation.

The district filed a lawsuit in February against four architecture and engineering firms seeking the $2 million the district spent on repairs to Hamilton.

Whether the district will file a lawsuit to recoup the cost of repairs to Allison is uncertain, district legal counsel has said.

The district tries to resolve the repair costs with companies through mediation.

For the rest of the year, Allison students and staff will continue their routine working in make-shift classrooms, Champlin said.

"It's not as much of a disruption that you might think," she said.

But Champlin said she hopes the repairs are complete by the beginning of the school year, as expected. If not, she said students and staff would not only have to crowd into less space, but also set entirely new schedules in the middle of the school year.