Soil remediation underway at site of new Clendenin Elementary School

CLENDENIN, W.Va. — Contractors have begun the job to replace bad soil on the construction site of the new Clendenin Elementary School in Kanawha County.

The project, to replace the school destroyed in the June 2016 flood, has been at a dead stop for nearly a year after the discovery of pyritic soil. Such soil can be a serious problem for slippage when used as fill.

The material is natural to the site, but it’s rare.

Kanawha County Schools Facilities Planning Executive Director Andrew Crawford said pyritic soil has only been found on two other occasions and both of those were in the Morgantown area. It’s so rare, it’s not even part of the initial testing for site preparation.

Kanawha County school officials have consulted with experts, the contractor, as well as with state officials and FEMA to approve the remediation plan, Crawford said.

“It allows us to remove the fill from the building pad and to bring in new, crushed sandstone engineered fill so we can continue moving on with the building,” he said.

According to Crawford, the old material will be dispersed on site and the new material is being trucked in from a quarry in the Elkview area.

“They’re estimating we have about 19,000 cubic yards of soil to remove, so it’s pretty substantial,” he said.

The work will take about 90 days and comes at a cost of around $2.3 million. The Kanawha County Board of Education approved the change order earlier this week.

Wolf Creek Construction, the company contracted to build the school, is also handling the soil replacement. The work will be done in phases to get the actual construction back on schedule, Crawford said.

“The building is broken up into three phases. As it’s removed on section C, we can start construction in section C. Then they’ll move to B and then to A,” he explained.

Although the discovery was made early in the construction process, it wasn’t found before some of the foundation and a few walls were put in. Crawford said fortunately, the walls and foundation will not need to be removed. However, some of the underground utility work will have to be dug up and rebuilt.

Construction on the new school was supposed tot have been done this past July. Crawford said it’s unclear what the new timeline for the construction will be. Students are attending class in temporary classrooms for a seventh school year at Bridge Elementary School.

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