Get the Story on Fix for a Flood-Prone Auditorium and Other School Issues
The Ocean City School District will sponsor a public presentation on facility issues at 10 a.m. Tuesday (March 5).
Superstorm Sandy was only the most recent of the floods to hit the Bill and Nancy Hughes Performing Arts Center at Ocean City High School.
The school auditorium — which opened with the reconstructed high school in September 2004 — has flooded three times before. And while the school district pursues legal action against the contractor for what it calls faulty construction, the district is moving ahead with a plan to fix the problem and is budgeting $750,000 to do so.
The auditorium project and other facility plans will be part of a public presentation at 10 a.m. today (Tuesday, March 5) at the Ocean City Free Public Library.
The public is invited, and members of the Ocean City Board of Education and district administration will be there to provide information about facility issues that will be addressed in the near future.
The event is the first of many to come in an effort to better educate the community about the Ocean City School District, according to Board of Education member Ray Clark. Light refreshments will be served.
The auditorium first saw water infiltration in November and December 2009, according to a presentation made by the school administration to the Board of Education last week. An exceptionally rainy and snowy year created high water table levels and the water seeped up through the floor.
The problem returned in December 2009/January 2010 then again between February and April 2010.
Contractor repairs did not work, according to the presentation. The contractor attempted to seal joints with a waterproof sealant and apply a liquid membrane sealant to the exposed wall sections in November 2009 and January 2010.
In February 2011, the district sought bids to install a sump pump along the front of the auditorium, but the estimates that came back varied wildly. The district decided instead to move forward with a lawsuit against the contractor.
After the problem returned during Superstorm Sandy in October 2012, the district decided it couldn't wait to address the problem. Following the advice of construction professionals, the district removed a 3-foot-by-12-foot section of the auditorium floor to take a look at the construction.
The investigation found construction deficiencies, according to the presentation. So as legal action continues, the district will begin a repair project that is expected to begin in June the day after graduation and continue for two months. The district has budgeted $750,000 to cover all possible costs and contingencies. Any unused funds would be transferred to the capital reserve fund for future projects.