Construction Workers Find Surprises Under The Sidewalk At Lanigan Elementary

The new sidewalk at Lanigan Elementary School. Photo provided by the Fulton City School District.
The new sidewalk at Lanigan Elementary School. Photo provided by the Fulton City School District.

You wouldn’t believe what they found under the sidewalk at Lanigan Elementary School.

Workers tore up the sidewalk as part of the renovation work being done over the next two years in every district building.  The ground below the sidewalk wasn’t solid enough to suit the builders, so they dug deeper.

And that’s when they found “tires and stumps and all kinds of stuff,” said Barry Rivet, one of the district’s outside construction managers.  One of the other outside managers said he’d never seen anything like it.

And that’s why visitors to the school in recent weeks found a moat in front of the school.  The ground “wouldn’t support the sidewalk properly,” said Jerry Seguin, the district official in charge of the project.  So workers kept digging deepeer in search of solid ground.

They found it, six feet down.

Board of education member Rae Howard asked about the sidewalk trench because she got a call from a taxpayer wondering about it.  She said the taxpayer wanted to know “are we going to be landing planes there?”

Other problems with the project are much more troublesome. (Take a visual tour, below.)

Board members learned Tuesday night that the contractor in charge of finding all of the asbestos in the affected buildings has missed some things.  Asbestos was found in six bathrooms, under the high school tennis courts and in the high jump, long jump and pole vault pits in the athletic complex.

Asbestos can cause lung disease when it’s breathed in and removing it is very expensive.

Rivet said this will add an estimated $80,000 to the cost of rebuilding the tennis courts, for example.

The $23 million project can’t go higher than the amount of money approved by voters in 2007 fxor the project, so money will have to come from elsewhere in the project to pay for the extra asbestos removal.  The board approved change orders to allow for extra spending on some aspects and take back money from other areas that are coming in under budget.

Ed McGraw, of Ashley McGraw, the architectural firm in charge of the project, says the tennis court asbestos can possibly be excused, but in general, “I’m not particularly happy with that contractor’s abatement operations.”

The girls locker room at G. Ray Bodley High School will not be ready for the start of the school year, Rivet told the board.  It will take a few extra weeks to fix a load-bearing wall issue.

Most other aspects of the project are on schedule, board members were told.

The massive construction project is taking place over two summers.  This summer’s work has been at the athletic complex, the high school and Lanigan Elementary.