State makes plans to prevent another disaster

By Lara Yamada
Published On: Nov 26 2012 07:04:03 PM HST
Updated On: Nov 27 2012 06:41:37 AM HST

Engineers spent the day at Farrington High School trying to figure out what led to disaster.

HONOLULU -

"We're getting over the shock right now," said Farrington High School Principal Al Carganilla.

Structural engineers were welding and mounting steel pipes on the outside of the building to reinforce it on Monday.

Carganilla said there's still an uncovered, gaping hole where a 40-foot section of the roof dropped to the floor.

"It could be combination of things, I think the wear and tear and age is part of it," he said.

A flash storm dumped rain on the area shortly before the roof collapsed at about 3:15 Friday afternoon.

Carganilla said the auditorium is 58 years old.

Assistant Superintendent Ray L'Heureux told KITV the roof was built in 1985 and fixed in 1992.

He said the department is also in the process of streamlining its procurement process to get to construction projects faster.

He said the department has also been updating its maintenance trouble shooting call system.

PHOTOS: Farrington H.S. auditorium roof collapses

Matayoshi said the Farrington auditorium, with its gravel-tar roof and reinforced steel trusses, was built to industry standards, and up for inspection in two years.

She said roofs on school buildings are typically up for inspection every 12-15 years, which is a standard time frame that now needs to be reassessed.

"Now what we are going to do is reprioritize the listing of the buildings to be inspected to look at buildings that are similar to this in age and construction to make sure we do those buildings first, she said.

The auditorium was part of Phase Two of Farrington's 10-year renovation project, but only minor repairs were expected.

Carganilla said two weeks ago, the vice principal and a consultant went up on the roof for a visual inspection, but didn't notice anything that might indicate a major problem.

Carganilla said other buildings on campus were sorely in need of repair.

Phase one in the school's L-shaped A-Building included fixing leaking roofs, renovating ceilings, floors and replacing windows.

In a press conference on Monday, Governor Neil Abercrombie said the state will spend an extra one million dollars to hire outside inspectors to assess some of Hawaii's aging school buildings.

"How long can you put fixes on a particular structure at different points in time and not have some structural or stress factors that come into picture," said the governor.

"In terms of inspections, that's already an ongoing concern. The backlog used to be something like $800 million plus. Now it's down to under $300 million so we are making progress," said Matayoshi.

"The auditorium is the center of our community," said Carganilla.

He said the collapse will affect countless events and functions, such as graduations for feeder schools, community events, regular services for the New Hope church, and much more.

"There was a freshman assembly planned this morning for 500 kids. It could have been devastating," said Matayoshi.

"The support well-wishes have been great, but now need to do assessment and plan accordingly, because this is a facility used by everyone, and I know this will take a long time to fix," said Carganilla.

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