Monday, February 14, 2011

Ongoing Havre Schools Construction Projects

What’s going on with the Havre Public Schools building projects? Before I start let me make one thing perfectly clear. The following article is an article of opinion based upon what we have been told, most of which is second-hand so take it for what it is worth. I do find it very interesting that nothing is ever said publically by any school board member about either the Highland Park School addition or the Havre High School collapsed roof findings.

A quick trip by the high school and it appears that the crew from Clausen Construction has the roof all buttoned up and weather tight. You can see in the picture a small area in the front that still has plywood showing and that’s where I observed workmen still climbing in and out last week. Why is no one coming forth with the cause of this collapse? Upon talking with one of the workmen that had been on the repair sight I was told that the snow load was nearly to the designed maximum of the roof which was around 25# per square foot. Also it appeared to the repair crew that some bracing and tons of screws holding the structure had been left out when the roof was initially constructed which leads me to believe the School District will have to hire someone to go through all of the roof framing beefing up the weak areas to insure we don’t have another collapse. It is also my understanding that the school has hired an engineer to design the needed repairs. I was told that the School’s insurance is paying for the repairs completed by Clausen Construction but they would not be paying for any additional work to bring the roof up to the current building codes. Does anyone have the “rest of the story” that they care to share with us? It would appear to me that the taxpayers will be ponying up some dollars for yet another school building project. If what I was told is true and the roof does not meet code for roof loads I have to wonder why there wasn’t some oversight in the first place when Anderson Construction was building the roof. There are still a lot of unanswered questions and I would hope the school board would come forward with some honest and complete information in the very near future.

I won’t say anything about the Highland Park School addition other than point out that when this blog first moaned about the “boondoogle” back in October of 2009 we were told the project would be complete for the 2010-11 school year. When I drove by on Saturday I still see plastic up around the cafeteria portion of the building and a large propane tank providing temporary heat.

Can someone please tell us what is going on?
Updated information reported by the Havre Daily “News” in tonight’s paper.

Thomas, Dean and Hoskins, the engineering firm hired by the school board to study what caused the roof collapse at the Havre High School said in part the failure was due in part to failure by the contractor to simply follow the plans. The contractor apparently did not install an adequate amount of screws fastening the framing together and in addition also failed to install many in the proper locations.

The HDN article went on to say that the engineers had talked to Havre Public Works director Dave Peterson who handles the City’s building inspection and “he is comfortable” bringing the roof up to the newer building code standards.

Wasn’t Dave Peterson also the building inspector at the time this roof was constructed? I am sure the contractor bought the required building permits at the time of the roof construction back in 1997 so how did the project pass inspection with tons of screws missing and inadequate bracing? Was this project even inspected by the city building inspector?

Something stinks here


  1. are we talking government agency here?
    and you were hoping for what?
    only thing better...
    would be a corporation.

  2. Corrector you are right on target with questioning why this roof passed inspection.

    The taxpayers of district 16 have been left holding the bag by Havre’s incompetent building department. I would guess that Havre’s so called building inspector didn’t even inspect this job while it was in progress. You can safely bet that they sold the school district a highly priced building permit anyway. I seemed to remember that the roof replacement cost 1.3 million. A permit for a 1.3 million dollar project today would cost over $4,000 plus plan review fees which can be up to an additional 35% of permit fee. This permit fee is supposed to be used for inspections to make sure construction projects are built properly and are safe for the public not as an additional revenue source for the city with no additional services rendered

    How many more unsafe newer buildings are there in Havre that the local building inspectors never even bothered to inspect while construction was in progress? Taxpayers should demand an investigation of the City’s building department

  3. Didn’t the engineering firm provide inspections on this job also? Who looked out for the school to make sure they were getting what they paid for? I know nothing about teaching school so I entrusted my kids to the professional school teachers here in Havre to give them an education. In that same light teachers and/or the school board members know nothing about roof construction so shouldn’t they have turned to building inspection professionals to make sure they received a good job complete with all the fasteners?

    I hope Anderson Construction paid more attention to detail on the Highland Park School than they did in this case.

  4. if i remember right clausens bid for the job was lower than andersons and i know they do their jobs correctly and cut no corners but they don't give the kick backs that anderson does i guess

  5. There are several inspections and reviews that are suppose to happen when a building permit is issued. I hope this happens now.

  6. I don’t know about big jobs but when I built my garage a number of years ago I bought the City permit from Peterson and that was the last I saw of anyone from the public works. No inspections no nothing

    I thought at the time they just require permits so the courthouse knows I improved my property so they could increase my property taxes

    Who inspected the courthouse steps that they are redoing now for the hundredth time?