June 27, 2008

Is Norwell Structurally Sound?

An interesting discussion from the School Board

There are three structural weak points in the school with one each adjacent to the gymnasium, the cafeteria and the auditorium. The weak points were created by snow load—possibly from the Blizzard of '78 and aggravated a little by the record snowy winter of 1982.

The points are located where lower sections of the Butler System joined with higher sections of the masonry gym and auditorium and with the glass wall of the cafeteria. Heavy snow will naturally drift between the two points.

The reason that the weak points have not been stressed too badly up to this point is because since 1982, there just hasn't been any major single snow events or accumulative snow events to cause any significant stress.

What no one wants is to have something like the Ball State Field house collapse during an ice storm in 1979... even though no one was hurt, there were people inside the Field House when it started creaking and moaning before the collapse.  An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, they say.

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