By Kevin Kelley
A teardown and reconstruction of the atrium at the new Westlake High School will probably not be necessary, Superintendent Dan Keenan said Monday.
A problem had been discovered during the winter break with the steel in the circular ring at the top of the atrium. An outside engineering consultant brought in by the district to evaluate the problem determined the issue is a combination of installation, design and structural steel problems and that some redesign of that area needs to occur, according to a post on the district’s website.
A redesign is being pursued by MKC Associates, the project’s architects. The concern was that any redesign would require the partially built atrium to be torn down and rebuilt.
But at Monday evening’s Westlake Board of Education meeting, Keenan said a rebuild was likely unnecessary. He said MKC officials reported that the problem can be addressed without having to tear down the structure.
“There may possibly be something removed and placed back, but their intention is to have a redesign that provides some additional support and reinforcements to that area,” Keenan said.
“We still have to keep a very close watch on that, and will continue to,” the superintendent added. “And hopefully that solution that they are proposing will be the final solution.”
The district will have a third-party consultant review MKC’s solution. But Dave Puffer, the district’s construction supervisor, said it might be a different consultant than the one the district brought in earlier this month.
Keenan said the atrium problem will not delay the scheduled opening of the new high school this fall. He added that any additional costs associated with the problem will not be borne by the district.
The atrium will be called the “commons” once the building opens and will serve as the building’s main entrance. Hallways from the commons will lead to the school’s academic and athletic wings. The main access to the Westlake Schools Performing Arts Center will also be from the commons.