Work shores up West foundation
10-to-15-foot screws to be installed beneath south and east walls
Don't worry. West Middle School is not falling down. |
Those big “screws” that crews with tractors will be inserting outside the south and east walls of the school this month are to prevent continued foundation settling, according to Mike Maloney, director of facilities for School District 11.
He said the foundation itself is in good shape. The problem is in the expansive soils underneath it. The soils appear to have expanded after heavy rains at times during the past five years, then contracted, leaving space into which the foundation could settle. “There was more moisture in there than ever before,” Maloney said.
The district's solution is supporting the foundation with large “helical piers” - about 10 to 15 feet long. Maloney described them as “big screws in the ground.” The top of the screw is tied to the existing foundation wall to keep the foundation from settling more,” he said.
A total of 13 will be installed on the south and east side of the building.
When the job is over, the school will look the same as before, he said.
There will be no effect on traffic during the project, he added.
In conjunction with the outside work, some wall repair will also be necessary inside the building - also related to the settling problem, Maloney said.
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