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Repair work on Center Elementary gym floor could cost district $100K

| Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012, 11:54 p.m.

Plum School District officials are working on a solution for a settling problem with a portion of the Center Elementary gymnasium floor.

Arnie Caffas, president of Pennsylvania Soil and Rock in Monroeville, the district's engineer, said the problem appears to be caused by breaks in an underground pipe that is resulting in water escaping into the backfill or dirt around the pipe.

Caffas said the water appears to be eroding the dirt around the pipe and causing a portion of the floor at the edge of the gym where it meets the restrooms to settle.

“We're reviewing the videotapes from inside the piping,” Caffas said.

“We saw three breaks in a pipe. It could be confined to a small area. Until we open up (the floor), we won't be able to tell.”

The issue was brought to the attention of the Plum School Board last week during a facilities committee meeting.

Superintendent Timothy Glasspool cautioned the board that the fix won't be cheap or easy.

“It's going to be expensive and intrusive,” Glasspool said.

Principal Jeff Hadley said students continue to have physical-education class and other activities in the gymnasium.

He said the only visible problem is hairline cracks in the tile floor area where the water problem is occurring.

“There is no safety concern,” Hadley said.

Caffas said the repair work would include opening up a portion of the gym floor, cutting through the slab, repairing the pipe, putting down new backfill and placing the slab and flooring back on the surface.

Caffas said the project would take about two to three weeks.

He estimated the cost at $50,000 to $100,000.

“We will get it opened up and see how much damage is occurring,” Caffas said.

Glasspool said he will have a recommendation for a board vote next month.

He anticipates the repair work won't be completed until school is dismissed for the year.

“It will have to be a fix in the summer,” Glasspool said.

Karen Zapf is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8753, or kzapf@tribweb.com.

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