A sinkhole ate my homework?
Not if the Monongalia County Board of Education can help it.
Work is set to begin in coming weeks to correct a slippage at Mountaineer Middle School that damaged the bus loop turnaround and buckled a retaining wall.
Drivers began noticing the dips and cracked pavement last December.
A hillside on the school’s Price Street campus has also been giving way by degrees, said Alpha Associates President Rick Colebank, whose firm was awarded the job.
The dollar amount of the contract is still being negotiated, Colebank last week.
Negotiating tricky terrain is a school rule in the Appalachian climes, Colebank said.
“In Morgantown, just about everything is built into a hillside,” he said.
Eventually, other entities besides the BOE and Alpha will have to deal with the topographical ramifications of Price Street, which runs above WVU’s downtown campus.
The erosion is known in the engineering trade as a “scarp” — and those unplanned fissures, Alpha engineers told BOE members, don’t go quietly.
They almost always turn into conduits for rain water, those engineers said.
That’s because such runoff always seeks a low point: The bus turnaround and bottom steps of Mountaineer Middle’s main entrance, in this case.
Alpha engineers said the hillside shifted one foot over a two-week period in December.
Other retaining walls on nearby College Avenue are also beginning to buckle somewhat, engineers said.
And since that thoroughfare connects WVU’s downtown with U.S. 119, any work there would come under the infrastructure purview of the state Division of Highways.
Colebank, in the meantime, preferred not to discuss engineering particulars, pending the final dollar amount.
The turnout and other features were added in 2009, when the building, which is the original home of University High, was reconfigured for its new life.
Extensive work had to be done at the site of the high school’s current location on Bakers Ridge due to mine subsidence — which engineers said isn’t a factor on Price Street.