Repair work continues to delay school's opening


Runnymede Elementary School still has no move-in date, as county and state inspectors hold out for the building contractor to complete more work on the school's wastewater treatment plant.

"No date will be established until a temporary use and occupancy permit is in our hands," said Vernon Smith, director of school support services.

The Carroll County commissioners, whose Bureau of Utilities will assume responsibility for the plant after it is complete, are wary ofaccepting it when there are still some glitches. They expressed their concern at a meeting Thursday with the school and public works staffs.

Keith Kirschnick, director of public works, said the plant will have a standard one-year warranty, so any design problems that show up within that period will be completed by the contractor, Triangle General Contractors Inc. of Hanover.

"The problems we've been having are mostly associated with freezing," Mr. Kirschnick said.

The school's staff and 600 students are in temporary quarters at Taneytown Elementary School. They were set to move into the newfacility Feb. 2, but freezing weather in January damaged the plant.

The ground around one of the tanks froze, causing the tank to shift and shear off an attached air pipe, among other problems. School officials and the contractor say that problem may have resulted from the plant being idle when the recent cold weather arrived.

Thomas Woodward, Triangle's project manager for the school, said he believed the county could best avoid another problem with freezing weather by erecting a metal building over the filtration tanks.

At Thursday's meeting to update the commissioners on the plant, Mr.Kirschnick also said the Bureau of Utilities has only one superintendent to split his time between the wastewater plants at South Carroll High School and Runnymede.

Because of the daily sampling of each plant and the travel time between them and the testing laboratory in Hampstead, the superintendent will be able to spend only one hour a day #F checking on each plant, said Wayne Lewns, chief of the Bureau of Utilities.

If the plants are operating well, that's enough time, Mr. Lewns said. But if there is a problem, the schools may have to call in a contractor temporarily to correct it.

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