Parkland Press

Friday, April 19, 2019
PRESS PHOTO BY SUSAN BRYANTTwo workers with Semmel Excavating Company work to fill in two sinkholes Aug. 24 at the northwest corner of the Parkland School District Administration Building, 1210 Springhouse Road, South Whitehall Township. PRESS PHOTO BY SUSAN BRYANTTwo workers with Semmel Excavating Company work to fill in two sinkholes Aug. 24 at the northwest corner of the Parkland School District Administration Building, 1210 Springhouse Road, South Whitehall Township.

School district getting that sinking feeling

Wednesday, August 29, 2018 by SUSAN RUMBLE Special to The Press in Local News

Parkland School District Superintendent Richard Sniscak reports heavy rains on or about Aug. 13 caused numerous sinkholes to appear on district properties.

He said several fairly large ones showed up at the northwest corner of the administration building, two at Orefield Middle School, one at Springhouse Middle School and one at Jaindl Elementary School.

A 20-foot-wide sinkhole forced closure of the access road, School District Way, at Orefield Middle School.

As immediate remediation was necessary, the school board met in an emergency meeting Aug. 16 without public notice, but in accordance with Sunshine Law regulations, to authorize repairs.

Specifications for the purpose of soliciting bids for repairs at the administration building and these schools were sent electronically to four companies with the lowest responsible offer received from and awarded to Semmel Excavating Co.

School district Business Manager John Vignone noted the cost for remediation would not be known until the work is completed.

He did, however, provide hourly rates which are: foreman $81; operators $79; laborers $59; and truck drivers $50.

The fee is $9 a ton for any material hauled away.

Vignone, who can see the large sinkhole from his office in the administration building, said it started out as one, then multiplied.

With remediation excavation, it became as big as a swimming pool, Vignone said.

“They have to dig and make sure they get all the weak soil,” Vignone said. “A compound called Dentonite is used as filler to absorb and solidify the area.”

Sniscak said insurance may cover the work, if it is determined the sinkholes affected the buildings.

If not, payment will be taken from the Capital Projects Fund.

“It’s sufficient for us now but may take away funds from something else as this was unanticipated, Vignone said. “We still have some contingency left for unforeseen events, but some other things may have to be adjusted down. It will catch up with us eventually.”