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Methane gas found
at site of new school
It’s a costly development

byValerie Verkamp
andmark reporter

An unforeseen condition discovered during the construction of Park Hill's new elementary school will cost the district an additional $93,393.

A pocket of methane gas buried more than 365 feet under the ground between the Autumn Ridge and Tiffany Place subdivision was discovered by workers while drilling a series of wells on the site of the district’s 10th elementary school.

The construction plans for the new elementary school originally involved drilling 72 wells that are 500 hundred feet deep on the campus site in order for the school to have a geothermal heating and cooling system. Following the discovery of methane gas in the drilling of the twelfth well, those plans have changed.

In order to avoid the “hazardous material,” the remaining 60 wells will be drilled to a depth of 300 feet.

The plans also call for the drilling of an additional 20 wells as a result of the wells being 200 feet more shallow than originally planned.

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources is now working with Hollis and Miller Engineering, as well as Universal Construction, to safeguard the workers and the overall safety of the school.

In an interview with The Landmark, Nicole Kerby, director of communication services for Park Hill, said that the additional measures will not set back the project's time frame for completing.

In a letter sent to James Rich, assistant superintendent for business and technology, Larry Jordan, project manager with Hollis and Miller Engineering, stated that a test well was drilled at the site to enable the engineers to create the original design parameters.

Those tests did not indicate the presence of methane gas in that well.

The letter also indicates, per the contract, the financial burden does not lie with the contractors for dealing with the additional measures as a result of the methane gas.

At a meeting on Thursday night, the board of education approved the $93,393 change order allowing the revised construction plans to resume.

Also this week, a committee made up of parents, students, community members, and staff narrowed a two page list of potential names for the district's 10th elementary school down to three: North Star, Green Horizons, and Heritage.

On Dec. 8, the board will select the new elementary school's name.