Falling ceiling tiles close high school auditorium Several 15-pound tiles hit floor

no one hurt at North County High

August 16, 1998|By Tanya Jones | Tanya Jones,SUN STAFF

County school officials have barred any use of the auditorium at North County High School because several 15-pound ceiling tiles fell to the floor recently, and other tiles are starting to come loose. No one was in the auditorium when the first tiles fell during the last week in July, said Principal Patricia Gronkiewicz.

Officials are reviewing contractors who could remove all the tiles so the auditorium can be reopened as soon as possible, said Ed Almes, school system maintenance supervisor. But the work won't be finished in time for the first day of class Sept. 1, he said.

The work should cost $15,000 to $20,000, he said. The school system has money available to do the emergency work, said Ralph Luther, director of facilities management.

County Councilman George F. Bachman, a Linthicum Democrat, questioned Luther and Superintendent Carol S. Parham on why the auditorium in the county's newest high school was having a problem.

The Ferndale school opened in 1993, after a yearlong, $17 million renovation and construction project that turned the former Lindale Middle School building into a high school. The auditorium was part of a 34,000-square-foot addition to the building.

Officials are looking into why the tiles, which are glued to the ceiling, are coming loose.

"I am distressed as well that this is a new high school and that this would happen," Parham said at a recent council work session.

The closed auditorium will be little more than a distraction when school starts, said Gronkiewicz. But the facility is important for classes, after-school activities and community events, so she wants it reopened as quickly as possible.

Orientation for new teachers will be held at Old Mill High School instead of North County because of the problem. Ninth-graders will meet in the cafeteria instead of the auditorium for orientation Aug. 25.

Pub Date: 8/16/98

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