Deadline set for repair of Runnymede's wastewater plant

February 10, 1994|By Anne Haddad | Anne Haddad,Sun Staff Writer

"Now, not later" is when Carroll County Schools Superintendent R. Edward Shilling said he wants Runnymede Elementary School's wastewater treatment plant fixed.

School officials are taking a tougher stand with Triangle General Contractors Inc., giving the company 14 days to show some progress before they hire another contractor.

Although the new school building was ready for students and staff to move in this month, the subzero weather in mid-January damaged the wastewater treatment plant. The ground around one tank froze, causing the tank to heave and shear some pipes attached to it.

Last week, Lester Surber, supervisor of school facilities, wrote a letter to Triangle of Hanover, Anne Arundel County. The letter said the company had seven days to show "meaningful progress." Today, Dr. Surber was to meet with the contractor, architect and engineer at the school to see whether that has happened.

If it hasn't, Dr. Surber said, the schools will give Triangle seven more days before hiring another contractor to finish the job, at Triangle's expense.

But he said he doesn't expect to have to do that.

"The system appears to be close to being operational," Dr. Surber said. "Piping has been repaired."

"There has been a more serious effort on [the contractor's] part to rally the subcontractors," said Vernon Smith, director of school support services.

The Runnymede project has had more delays because of bad weather than school officials can remember for any other building. The school was supposed to open in September, but construction fell behind because of heavy rains in the spring and BTC summer of 1992, and then the blizzard of March 1993.

Heavy rains last fall kept it from opening in January.

Students were ready to move in Feb. 2 until the wastewater treatment plant froze.

Dr. Surber declined to estimate when the students could move in, although he said the system could be operating on a test basis in about three weeks.

"We need to do some fencing around the plant to make sure the surrounding area is secure," he said.

The tanks have rails around them, but the schools have planned more fencing all along, to keep any wayward children from falling in.

Triangle President Jack Leone could not be reached last night, but said in an interview in January that bad weather has been the only reason for the delays at Runnymede and has hampered the entire construction industry this year.

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