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Jul 30, 2013 8:17 PM by Andy Koen

Lawsuit settled over sinking high school

FREMONT COUNTY - The Florence High track team may finally be able to host a track meet in their new stadium. The soil shifted shortly after new $18 million high school and stadium opened in 2006. The weight of the shifting stadium warped the track beyond use. Soil problems also caused large cracks in the floors and walls in the school gym and cafeteria.

"There are no health and safety issues at the high school right now," explained Rhonda Vendetti, the superintendent for the Fremont RE-2 School District. "The recommended fixes would be in order to keep any additional moving from causing something to happen further on down the road."

The district sued their builder (Acorn Construction Company) and their design team (architects Christiansen, Reece and Partners, MGA Structural Engineers, Inc and soil consultants CTL Thompson, Inc.) in August of 2010 to recoup the costs of repairs.

A settlement was recently agreed to between the district and the various defendants. School board president Tommy Covington is optimistic about when things will be fixed.

"Most of the major fixes we feel like are short term, other than the stadium," Covington said. "It may take a little bit longer with that."

The football season starts too soon for the stadium to be repaired in time to host any home games. However, Vendetti and Covington hope to be able to host graduation ceremonies here in the spring.

Specific dollar amounts about the settlement are being kept confidential. News 5 previously reported that estimates for the work reached the $4 million range. Regardless, superintendent Vendetti believes they will have enough pay for repairs.

"Its just nice to feel like we are coming to closure and can move forward with fixing some things at the high school and kind of getting the school back to original condition," she said.

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