Scarborough school officials and construction workers will dig up part of the high school foundation Wednesday, to examine cracks there.

The excavation is one of three areas the district must check to satisfy concerns expressed in an engineering study of the high school by C and C Consulting.

One area – a column anchor plate thought to have been improperly repaired – has already been found not to have any problems, or even any repairs done to it. Monday, one of two such plates was dug up.

“There’s no problem there at all. They’re installed exactly as designed,” said Norm Justice, school facilities manager and owner’s representative for the high school project. The second base plate will be dug up Tuesday, to be checked Wednesday. Construction documents had indicated anchor bolts for the columns had been misplaced, resulting in repairs to the plates.

“We hope to provide all the information C and C needs to sign off on this building entirely,” Justice said.

The cost of the review is unknown at this time, Justice said, but if there are no problems, the schools will have to pay for the review. If there are problems the construction companies, project architect Harriman Associates and contractor Pizzagalli Construction, will have to pay, he said.

C and C reviewed 10 areas of the high school this summer at the request of the Code Enforcement Department. The company issued its final report earlier this month.

The report found “minor inconsistencies” in two areas and five other areas were deemed acceptable. More information was needed in order for C and C to draw a conclusion on the remaining three issues.

The Code Enforcement Department has refused to issue a permanent occupancy permit for the new gymnasium until C and C clears the three areas in question. However, the department has issued a temporary occupancy permit until the district examines them.

The foundation, which is now covered, is suspected to have some 20 cracks. C and C could not determine whether the cracks were an actual problem without information regarding their size, which was not recorded by the construction team.

In previous discussions, members of the construction team have said that the cracks would not cause structural problems and in February 2004 the town let construction workers build on top of the foundation.

C and C is concerned that if the cracks are large enough, it would allow moisture to enter into the concrete and create larger cracks, which in turn would allow more moisture to enter into the concrete and eventually weaken the wall, reducing its life span.

A 10-foot area will be excavated to allow an inspection of the cracks. C and C will review the area to determine if any remedial work is needed and, if so, more of the foundation could be exposed, according to the schools’ plan for dealing with the problems.

The third area of concern relates to mechanically bent anchor bolts that are holding down one column. C and C is concerned that the bolts were not property tested after the bending and could result in reduced performance.

The action plan specifies that the anchor bolt installer will test a piece of the threaded rod that was used as part of the bolt. The test, which is now being conducted, will determine the strength of the rod to see if it was suitable for bending. If needed, the contractor could provide more anchoring at the column.

Justice was not sure if the information gained during Wednesday’s review would be enough to make an onsite assessment of the problems. Instead he figures that C and C would take the information and then notify the schools about its decision in the future.

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