Broward School Board accepts $21.6 million settlement over partial roof collapse
South Florida Sun Sentinel (FL)
The Broward School Board has approved a settlement from its insurance company for $21.6 million for last year’s partial roof collapse at an Oakland Park middle school.
When the roof fell in at James S. Rickards Middle, more than 10 people were taken to the hospital after evacuating. Scared and confused children evacuated after the roof over the media center, or library, collapsed mid-morning. Many ditched their belongings as they hurried away.
The collapse was blamed on “a failure of steel anchor bolts” at the top of a wall on the south side of the media center.
The School District eventually agreed to demolish and rebuild the school. Students and staff returned to portables in January.
The $21,675,678 settlement is lower than the district’s original claim for $22,954,639, which included teacher and student personal items, site preparation and restoration, portable rentals for students during new construction, consulting services, and code upgrades for the rebuild.
Still, Aston Henry, the district’s director of risk management, assured Board Members it was the right move: “It is a good deal, an excellent deal, I think.”
The funds from the settlement are going into the district’s unallocated capital reserves.
The replacement school building is expected to be open for the 2024-25 school year. The district has budgeted $60 million for the project.
Lisa J. Huriash can be reached at [email protected] or 954-572-2008. Follow on Twitter @LisaHuriash