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Lawrence neighbors concerned about construction

Posted: 6:23 AM, Sep 28, 2015
Updated: 2015-09-28 07:23:05-04

Some neighbors in Lawrence are upset with the way a school construction site was handled and they worry more schools are at risk.

Eric Kirkendall, who lives near the school, took a 10-minute video walking around the open construction site, which he called “dangerous.”

The video shows deep holes not blocked off, equipment and tools left out, and a lack of barrier to keep children away.

Neighbor Greg Herrod said problems run deeper than what you can see in the video.

Herrod believes there’s a lack of accountability and the proper inspections were not done.

"I'm also concerned that there are many code violations hidden within the walls that are not seen and it's a school building where our children are,” Herrod explained. “Besides being a school building, schools are also neighborhood storm shelters and we just don't know."

Improvements at New York Elementary School are part of a $92 million dollar bond initiative aimed at fixing up 20 Lawrence schools.

Herrod worries the construction underway at other schools may need a second look, too.

“It's all schools. You know, this is where the accident happened and this is where they are getting called out. This construction company was particularly poor in the way that they ran their business and did their work,” Herrod said.

Last month, an 8-year-old was seriously injured after fencing at the construction site fell on him.

The district ended its contract with the construction company, but Herrod said the taxpayers’ fight is just beginning.

"I think that we're probably going to end up taking legal action,” he said.

The city and Lawrence School District have developed a plan that will be discussed at Monday’s school board meeting and Tuesday’s city commission meeting.

The plan would be for the city to resume permitting and inspection services on the six remaining school bond projects that have not started yet.

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Lexi Sutter can be reached at alexandra.sutter@kshb.com .

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