Wilkes-Barre Area School District is investigating cracks discovered in the masonry exterior of the new high school under construction in Plains Twp., Solicitor Raymond Wendolowski said Tuesday.
The cracks are up by the roof of the structure and are not related to the foundation, Wendolowski said. Contractors will pay to fix any problems, so district costs should not exceed the project’s $121 million budget, Wendolowski said.
The investigation and potential repair work are not expected to delay the project, Wendolowski said. Construction began in April 2019 and is expected to be done by the summer of 2021.
The school board approved three contracts related to monitoring masonry issues at Monday’s school board meeting, and officials did not discuss the contracts or the masonry issues at the meeting.
The board approved agreements with:
- PLACE Structural Design LLC for structural engineering consultation at an hourly rate of $135.
- Atlantic Testing Laboratories to provide “ground penetrating radar investigation services” at an estimated cost of $15,250.
- D’HUY Engineering Inc. for masonry construction monitoring at a rate of $3,840 per week plus $2,800 for reimbursable expenses.
“The District has received several letters from the contractor citing design deficiencies, and a partial rebuttal email from the Structural Engineer of Record which lays fault with the construction,” PLACE Structural official Kevin Place said in an agreement document. “The matter of life safety, during construction as well as in final state, has been discussed in these correspondences.”
Atlantic Testing Laboratories will perform nondestructive testing on concrete masonry unit walls at up to 20 locations.
The new high school is being constructed on a 77-acre former mining site located along South Main and Maffett streets in Plains Twp. The masonry issues are not connected to the site or old mining activity there, Wendolowski said.
The building will consist of more than 400,000 square feet and will be able to accommodate 200 employees and 2,100 students in grades 9-12 when it opens for the 2021-22 school year. The district’s three high schools — GAR, Coughlin and Meyers — will merge when the 2021-22 school year starts.