Editorial: Give them a chance on facilities

Fort Morgan Times editorial

Posted:   10/03/2012 02:38:04 PM MDT

Fort Morgan’s Board of Education on Monday heard a report from Ron Echols, superintendent of schools, that several companies had been chosen as finalists for a Fort Morgan High School boiler project and a master facilities plan.

Among the companies are several familiar names associated with prior work for the district — Ennovate, which has done heating and other environmental control work; Slater-Paull, which has done facilities design work, and the Neenan Co., which has done archistructure work.

Neenan, headquartered in Fort Collins, designed and built some additions for the district in recent years; the firm has also done work for the Brush and Weldon Valley school districts.

Most notably in this area, Neenan designed and built a junior high and high school addition and tore down and replaced an elementary wing for Weldon Valley, plus remodeling the historic core building.

Anyone who has seen that work knows that Weldon Valley now has a showcase of a facility.

Those familiar with developments not so long ago in the school construction business, however, may hear alarm bells going off in their heads at the mention of Neenan.

The firm was involved in construction of some schools elsewhere in the state that had design problems; one school was closed not long after opening due to structural concerns. There were questions about whether the building could stand up to heavy wind and snow loads.

State officials had numerous projects probed, and corrective measures were suggested on several facilities.

To its credit, Neenan made good on those corrective measures.

And the engineer associated with the problem facilities is no longer with the company.

Some folks would be inclined to throw Neenan under the bus for the problems it incurred on those facilities.

However, we have seen no major problems with any facilities in our area.

We believe Neenan stands behind its work and deserves the same shot any other firm does at working with the Fort Morgan district on its master plan, the project for which Neenan is one of three finalists.

The firm chosen for working on that plan will be working with the district accountability committee, a diverse group that includes district employees, parents and patrons.

It will be interesting to see what the group comes up with.

The views expressed in The Times editorial are independent from the news coverage, offering our opinion and additional commentary on items of public interest. The editor can be reached at