Temporary fix keeps high school opening day on schedule

WARMINSTER, Pa. (KYW Newsradio) — Just days before students return to William Tennent High School, district officials are showing off a temporary fix for what they say could have been a catastrophic problem if it hadn’t been found when it was. 

Some cement started flaking off part of the building support system, which appeared to be cosmetic at first. But about 1 1/2 weeks ago, Centennial School District Superintendent David Baugh said they found out it was a major structural issue, which “was a bit of a surprise…” 

“We are extremely pleased to have found them before some kind of catastrophe occurred,” he said. 

Director of facilities Robert Whartenby said they came up with a solution in record time: 130 shoring poles attached to the areas with the structural deficiencies. 

“That allows us to open the school for staff and students. Today (Tuesday) was staff, Sept. 3 will be students,” Whartenby said. 

Structural engineer Todd Gerhart said the building is safe and the temporary fix is done. 

“Some minor things such as moving some desks back into place, ceiling tiles, but essentially the shoring and the building is safe for occupancy,” Gerhart added. 

Now that the building is safe, they’ll work on a plan for a permanent fix and decide if that can be done during the school year, over winter break, or if they’ll have to wait until summer. 

As for who is responsible for costs of the repairs, that remains to be seen, but school officials expect it won’t all be on the district.

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