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Chemical Leak Delays Opening Of Edgewood Elementary School

Reported: Mar. 26, 2014 8:57 PM EDT
Updated: Mar. 27, 2014 12:45 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Taisha Walker) -- Construction continued Wednesday at the new site of Edgewood Elementary School in Charleston.

The $20 million project was at a standstill for several weeks, putting a major wrench in the project's timeline.

"We are behind and there's a number of issues, reasons behind that," said Mark Manchin, executive director of the West Virginia School Building Authority.

A harsh winter and January's chemical leak into the Elk River, which contaminated the water supply in nine counties, are partly to blame.

"We had an issue with the mortar, not wanting to mix it with the water, just in case, it would discolor or whatever, they weren't sure about that," Kanawha County School Superintendent Ron Duerring said.

Manchin said board members didn't anticipate the effect the chemical leak would have on the school project.

"We didn't understand what sort of impact it would have on the construction industry," Manchin said.

The West Side building was suppose to be finished by July 4, but with those setbacks, the project is nearly eight weeks behind schedule.

Duerring said most projects have delays but contractors "are very good about making the time up and getting the job done and even if it didn't open up in time we would have a "plan b" ready in place and ready to go."

General contractor G & G Builders Inc, has until August before students begin class at their new school. In the meantime, the School Building Authority has some work of its own to do.

"We're going to reconcile with the National Weather Service as to what those days were like, could they have worked things of that nature," Manchin said.

A monetary penalty has not been ruled out. Everyone is holding out hope that the new school will open on time.

Duerring said water at Edgewood Elementary has been tested for the chemical MCHM. The results came back at non-detect levels.



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