Raider Dome structural check proposed
by DELANEY WALKER Banner Staff Writer
Sep 29, 2013 | 1103 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Cleveland City Schools’ Site Committee placed a recommendation to the Board of Education to check the structural integrity of Cleveland High School’s Raider Dome.

Paul Ramsey, energy education specialist, assured the committee the dome is safe to occupy at this point.

Cracks in the structure have been monitored since their appearance.

Hal Taylor, director of maintenance and transportation, explained a lot of movement has occurred on the exterior walls within the brick veneer. He reiterated this portion of the structure is not a supporting member of the dome.

Additional minor movement was noted in the interior cracks.

Ramsey said architect Ken Cross suggested the city school system hire a team to evaluate and write up a structural report.

The predicted cost of the evaluation is $27,000 at most. The report will include the evaluation, predictions and suggestions.

Ramsey praised Taylor for finding the original building plans for the Dome. He said they were believed to have been lost for several years now.

Taylor explained the building plans confirm the structural integrity of the dome itself. The foundation has also been found to be solid.

“We are safe right now. We are not jeopardizing anyone right now. The building is safe,” Taylor reiterated. “But we do have some movement going on right now and we have to look at it before we have an event happen that would cause us to be unsafe.”

The plans showed there is, “no vertical support besides the hollow block.” There were also no expansion joints placed in at the time of construction.

Committee Chair Murl Dirksen said the evaluation needs to be completed.

“It cannot be ignored,” agreed committee member Steve Morgan.

CHS Principal Autumn O’Bryan used the meeting as an opportunity to tell the gathered board members the Dome is officially at capacity for seating in the bleachers. Only 1,500 students can fill the bleachers at a time.

O’Bryan said special ceremonies warrant an additional 400 chairs on the floor to fit 1,900 total.

The evaluation will be further discussed at the October school board meeting.

n Arnold Elementary Principal Mike Chai spoke with the site committee about the various options for expansion at the school.

One included expanding onto the one-way street running parallel to the elementary school.

Chai assured the committee the road is not heavily travelled throughout the day. The expansion would shutdown the area from the school’s dumpsters to the end of the gym.

According to Chai, the change would allow for the consolidation of five to six entrances and the construction of a new, more secure office.

Director of Schools Dr. Martin Ringstaff informed the committee the plans were looked into at the behest of City Council. There are no plans at this time to pursue any of the suggestions.

“Right now we have a $16.6 million price tag to handle first,” Ringstaff said of the new elementary school to be built off Georgetown Road.

Committee members agreed the new elementary school will be the main focus, with the possibility of work being completed on Arnold in the future.

n In other site committee updates, Ramsey said good communication has been kept up with the Tennessee Department of Transportation concerning the widening of SR60. He explained the state’s expansion is still four to five years off.

Dirksen said there have been several meetings to discuss the plans for both the new elementary school and TDOT’s project.

“I’ve had people say to me, ‘You are going to build this new school, then they are going to come in and rip the whole thing off.’ They are really kind of planning this thing out right,” Dirksen said. “Nothing has been unknown. We know exactly where the road is going to go. We’ve got the drawings of where the sidewalks are...and we know where the drains are going to be.”