Multi-million dollar repairs needed under two Grand Prairie schools

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by JASON WHEELER

Bio | Email | Follow: @jasonwheelertv

WFAA

Posted on June 20, 2014 at 7:15 PM

GRAND PRAIRIE -- Now out for the summer, there's not much happening at Reagan Middle School or Seguin Elementary School -- at least not outwardly.

Just beneath the surface, though, there’s a lot going on at the two Grand Prairie campuses. And none of it is good, according to court papers filed by the district.

In the paperwork, GPISD outlines “significant damage" under the two schools with "separated" and "crushed" pipes; a situation so bad the district claims it has had to replace "virtually the entire below slab plumbing-drainage system" at a cost of "nearly four million dollars."

The problem, the district says, is that the schools were constructed on top of high-expansion soil.

Brian Eubanks, with Paragon Structural Engineering, gave us a tutorial.

“The clay minerals that make up the soil -- when they gain moisture, they expand. When they lose moisture, they contract," Eubanks said. "So seasonally, the soils move up and down. They can expand and contract in the order of a few inches to more than ten inches.”

Eubanks' firm sometimes forensically investigates problems like this. His company is not involved with Reagan Middle or Seguin Elementary.

According to GPISD, the firm that designed the troubled Grand Prairie schools is PBK Architects. That was the same original architect for the Allen ISD's Eagle Stadium, which was recently found to have structural design failures throughout the complex. That stadium now awaits a fix.

Grand Prairie ISD is also seeking some permanent remedies, and is asking the court to allow the district to take statements from PBK personnel. The district acknowledges it is laying the groundwork for a potential claim against PBK.

PBK did not return multiple calls and an e-mail seeking comment.

A Grand Prairie ISD spokesman contacted by WFAA.com said he was not familiar with the court filing and said because of the district’s reduced summer schedules, no one was available Friday to add additional information.

E-mail jwheeler@wfaa.com

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