GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Structural concerns over a wall have made classes virtual at a Grand Rapids Public School building through the end of the week.
The district says an auditorium wall will need to be replaced at Innovation Central High School and Grand Rapids Montessori Middle High School.
The issue was discovered while crews were working to restore the brick on the building, according to Larry Johnson, the chief of staff for the district.
“We have a potential problem of one of our walls. The north wall here on the auditorium,” Johnson said.
As crews work to study the problem, GRPS decided to shift nearly 700 students in the building temporarily to virtual learning.
“It’s the oldest functioning high school in the state of Michigan, Johnson said. “It’s over 100 years old and so as years go on, deterioration of the water penetrating and the roof getting into the cavity of the building. It has rusted out some of the support beams.”
The district says it is committed to getting the problem repaired and finishing the project.
“We wanted to get the students out so that we didn’t increase any anxiety of them seeing a bunch of folks running around with hard hats and taking picture and things of that nature. We wanted to investigate,” Johnson said.
The repair costs are expected to be significant and could delay the completion of the restoration, according to Alex Smart, the executive director of facilities and operations.
“It’s not going to be multimillion, but it will be probably five to six figure, low six figure but we really don’t know. It would be right now speculating,” Smart said.
The district says it can do the work while students are still in the building.
“We’re hoping to be a neighbor in Heritage Hill and take care of the property like others are taking care of their property so it’s here for another 100 years for our grandkids and great grandkids to enjoy,” Johnson said.
The district says students will be able to return to the building on Monday.