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Details released on school roof collapse; district plans to rebuild

WYOMING, Mich. — School officials have released information into the collapse of the Lee Middle and High School last month.

A portion of the school roof collapse late at night on June 5. Another portion of the wall collapsed on June 23 after partial demolition had begun to stabilize the building.

The district says that the initial collapse was caused by the erosion of steel joints on the west wall.  The joint seats corroded over time, caused by water seepage.  The precise location and reason for the water penetration was not determined.

The investigation also says that the district was not negligent in maintaining the building or the roof and had actually gone above and beyond requirements for inspecting the facility. The district had used Weather Shield Roofing with assessments in 2014 and 2017.  The report says that there were no visible signs that the roof was about to collapse.

Since the collapse, unstable and damaged areas have been removed and other areas have been stabilized.  The district anticipates that insurance will be covering the majority of their claim.

Parents were invited to a meeting Thursday night to hear more about the district's plan from administration. While the school says the school is safe besides the wing with the collapse issues, several parents weren't sure about sending their children back.

Jessica Hernandez says the district should have been more proactive.

"They should have really been more on top of it, and updated it with the roofers and contractors," she said. "I'm still debating on whether or not I want to bring him to this schools because of this matter, because I want option 3 where they have to rebuild the whole school."

The district looked at three options for reconstruction of the site and have chose to explore one that includes new designs and increases accessibility for students and the community.

The project, if it becomes reality, could take up to two years to build the initial wing and may include more costs that what insurance will cover.

Superintendent Kelvin Polston said Thursday's meeting is only the beginning.

"Tonight was a start, and we knew that there would be further concerns, and we knew that," he said. "We've encouraged our parents to stay in the conversation with us, to continue to ask questions and it's our responsibility to ask them exhaustively.

"This is a question (of) trust of the personnel but also the facility, and the structural engineer is not going to risk his reputation to allow convenience."

For the upcoming school year, classrooms that were affected will be moved to unused or underutilized space on the campus.  The district says they will not need any temporary classrooms.

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