Engineer’s report fails to find any life-threatening construction flaws in new Priceville High School

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PRICEVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - There's an ongoing dispute between the construction company and design team working on the new Priceville High School. The disagreement has threatened to delay the completion of the building. The school superintendent says if they don't reach an agreement this week, some students could find themselves in portable classrooms.

An independent engineering consultant hired to look at the new Priceville High School says they could find no construction defects that would pose a threat to the lives or safety of students. That said, there are a few construction issues the report says should be addressed. WHNT News 19 first broke this story two weeks ago. Here's the very latest.

There has been an ongoing dispute between those who designed the new Priceville High School and those actually building it. The issues center around several areas the design team feared were not properly constructed. The point where walls meet and are connected were of concern in several areas. It was feared walls surrounding the school's safety shelter may have been improperly poured. And there was concern that walls and the ceiling in one of the gymnasiums were not up to code.

"The key thing that they come out in the report is there are no life-safety issues," according to Morgan County School Superintendent Bill Hopkins regarding the just released report from the consulting engineers. Hopkins says they looked at five key areas, most of which had already been upgraded or corrected. One wall will receive some additional bracing, although he says that's not required for it to be within code.

"But they're going to brace this wall," Hopkins said pointing to one of the walls in the gymnasium.

We asked, "They essentially said it is sufficient as it is, but to be on the safe side... To make everyone feel much better, rather than them just come in and go, 'we think it's safe' and all that, it would be better if they just took some extra precaution," he explained.

Hopkins says it means they can move forward with plans to move students in after the Christmas break, but it may not a done deal just yet. Both the construction team and the design team have until Wednesday to accept the consulting engineer's report, and its recommendations.

We asked Hopkins what happens if the two sides cannot agree. He tells us he's optimistic that they will, but adds the school will not be occupied until all of the issues are resolved and they know the building is safe.