Fire marshall finds code violations in district buildings

This article submitted by Linda Stelling on 10/20/99.

The Paynesville Area School Board was told by Superintendent Howard Caldwell at their Tuesday night meeting that the state fire marshall found 48 code violations during an inspection of the district's buildings.

Inspectors spent two days in Paynesville in February going through the buildings. Since that time, they have been back for several follow-up visits.

"Inspectors were here Oct. 14 and we received a good report from them," Lew Storkamp, buildings and grounds supervisor, told the Press.

The custodial staff has been busy correcting deficiencies identified in the inspection. Nineteen areas needing correction were identified in the elementary school and 29 areas in the middle/high school.

Caldwell said it isn't unusual to receive a number of deficiencies because of code changes and differences in the ways inspectors interpret the codes.

The Paynesville School District buildings have not had a full inspection in more than 10 years. "There hasn't been a full inspection since I have been here," Caldwell said.

Storkamp said the fire marshall's office did a partial inspection in 1992 when the new middle school was erected.

"I feel receiving only 48 deficiencies is a good report," Storkamp said. "Fire code changes were the cause for the majority of the violations. In some cases, I went over the blueprints with the architect and fire marshall and found we were not in violation."

Among the violations was the use of the temporary classrooms at the elementary school. The fire marshall stated that the use of the temporary classrooms at the elementary school must be discontinued after the this school year. During the 2000-2001 school year, the classrooms on the south end of the east wing will be removed.

The temporary classrooms were added to the school in 1985. Currently, only one of the two classrooms is being used.

Another of the issues pertains to improving the smoke detection system within district buildings.

Storkamp reported at the board meeting that the majority of deficiencies have been corrected where possible. He has received an extension on correcting six of the deficiencies as they would be corrected during the proposed building project, if approved.

Storkamp said the inspectors are way behind on school inspections and have established a schedule to try and inspect school buildings every five years.

"I'm real pleased with how everything has fallen into place. Many of the violations were simple things the school custodial staff could handle. Other corrections involve obtaining bids before the violation can be corrected," Storkamp said.

Caldwell said the school staff has been in communication with the state fire marshall's office several times to better understand what corrections need to be made.

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