Volunteer's leaning press box straightened, albeit at a higher than expected cost

Jeff Bobo • Apr 9, 2019 at 9:30 PM

CHURCH HILL — Volunteer High School’s leaning press box has been repaired, although the cost was $35,970 higher than anticipated due partly to the bedrock below the foundation being lower than expected.

The original contractor price was $155,800 to level the football field press box, which has been leaning for years due to erosion beneath the bleachers.

School maintenance director Shannon Glass told the Hawkins County Board of Education Thursday that the original construction drawing from 1979 couldn’t be located.

When the contractor removed the floor, it was discovered that the foundation was actually quite a bit lower than one would expect for that type of structure.

“The foundation was actually six feet from the top of the slab down to the foundation, which required them to remove approximately 86 tons of rock by hand, a shovel at a time,” Glass told the BOE.

Once all the rock was removed, contractors installed 42 “push piers” around the walls, which are three inch pipes pushed into the ground until they reach a certain amount of bearing, which is between 4,000 and 5,000 psi.

Those piers are then used to lift and level the building while also creating a new foundation.

Originally it was anticipated that the piers would have to be sunk about 32 feet to reach bedrock.

“After we pushed the first piers and we noticed there was going to be some extra work there, I asked the contractor to stop work until we could get a change order in place and asked them to get me an estimate on what it would cost,” Glass said. “We estimated all the piers to be the exact same length, between 50-55 feet, his overage cost on that with removing the extra stone $55,460.”

Glass added, “The good news is most of those piers didn’t end up that long, so the actual change order that they submitted now is $35,970.”

They were able to lift up the building a half-inch.

“We didn’t get quite enough list at Volunteer to close up all the gaps, but we did stabilize the foundation,” Glass said.

A similar project took place at the Pathways Alternative School, and the building was lifted up three-quarters of an inch to close a gap that had formed in the wall.

On Thursday, Glass also updated the BOE on paving completed during spring break at Hawkins Elementary and Church Hill Elementary.

Summers and Taylor was the successful bidder and had scheduled the CHES project over spring break.

Glass said the weather was good and they were able to bring in two different crews, one to take out all the bad asphalt, then another paving crew.

They milled out all the bad parts at the entrance to the school.

By Saturday of spring break, they had lots at both schools completed and striped.