Shaky floors in Springfield school could postpone scheduled fall opening

By Doug Livingston
Beacon Journal education writer

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The new Springfield High School under construction along Canton Road in Springfield Township. (Paul Tople/Akron Beacon Journal)

SPRINGFIELD TWP.: Springfield school administrators, projects designers and construction crews are sorting out a structural deficiency in the new seventh- through 12th-grade building, originally expected to open in the fall.

Unless the issue is fixed, vibrations from a student’s bouncing leg would be felt in 24 rooms housed on the second floor of $42 million building.

“When you walk in some of the classrooms, you can feel the footsteps,” Superintendent William Stauffer said this week. “After a while, it’s certainly very annoying. It wouldn’t be very conducive to education.”

Stauffer said no one is certain who is at fault for the structural deficiency, which could postpone the building’s opening.

“Right now it’s looking rather doubtful that we’ll open on time in the fall,” Stauffer said. “That’s kind of the frustrating part.”

The community has been waiting for the building since it passed a bond issue in 2010, raising $33.7 million in local funds for the 185,000-square-foot building. It stands nearly completed next to the current high school.

Springfield’s legal counsel has been made aware of the issue, which is adding unknown additional costs that eventually could be settled through litigation.

“Right now it’s coming out of project dollars,” said Stauffer, who added that the problem lies in either the design or the construction. He said the contractor or the architect should absorb the cost of reinforcing or replacing the shaky second floor.

“That will be up to the lawyer to decide who ends up paying,” Stauffer said.

Dave Zeller, the project architect for MKC Associates Inc., would not characterize the issue as a design flaw or an error in construction. Unlike Stauffer, he’s optimistic the project can be completed on time.

“We’re focused on getting a fix at this time,” Zeller said. “I believe we’re committed to opening in the fall.”

Mike Coates of Coates Construction, a Niles-based company working on the school, and Jeff Fullerman of Regency Construction Services Inc., the general contractor for the project, did not immediately return phone calls.

The project is partially funded through the Ohio School Facilities Commission (OSFC). With the state being a stakeholder in the project, Stauffer said his legal staff could receive some help from Columbus should the matter require litigation.

“What we understand is because it’s a project involved with OSFC, legal counsel at some point would be the attorney general of Ohio,” Stauffer said.

Doug Livingston can be reached at 330-996-3792 or dlivingston@thebeaconjournal.com.


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