Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Crews back to work filling Trapnell Elementary's ground depression

Construction crews pump tons of concrete into the ground to stabilize an underground void at Trapnell Elementary School.

Kim Wilmath, Times

Construction crews pump tons of concrete into the ground to stabilize an underground void at Trapnell Elementary School.

PLANT CITY — Concrete trucks hummed outside Trapnell Elementary School on Wednesday morning as construction crews resumed work on an underground void found last month between two campus buildings.

On the surface, there's nothing more than a slight dip in a sidewalk. But it was that dip that forced the relocation of students to two other schools while officials inspected the campus and stabilized the 90- to 120-foot subsurface void between the cafeteria and administration office.

It was one of a rash of ground depressions and sinkholes in the area reported in January, caused by heavy agricultural pumping during an extreme cold snap.

Students should be back to Trapnell within three to four weeks, said Hillsborough County Schools spokesman Steve Hegarty.

In the meantime, men in hard hats roam the school, hauling hoses and pumping tons of concrete under the fragile ground.

By Wednesday, crews had drilled dozens of hollow metal casings deep into the earth, creating an underground grid.

They use the casings to fill the grid with organic grout made of limestone and phosphate and "the same stuff that's already in the ground," explained Clay Ward, Hillsborough County Schools maintenance manager.

He said it has no adverse environmental impact.

"It's like we're recycling," Ward said. "All those rock components were here already, and we're basically just putting it back."

They're doing it little by little — pumping some concrete and then drilling down to see how much of a void is left. They've also stuck in metal posts to measure how much the earth rises as they pump.

Work began Monday but was slowed due to rough weather. By Wednesday, four concrete trucks had been emptied into the earth. Each truck holds 20 tons.

How much more concrete will be needed and how much it'll all cost is still a mystery, Hegarty said.

It'll likely be less than $1 million, with insurance covering most of it, Hegarty said. "But that's a rough, rough estimate."

But hopefully, he said, this will be the end of it.

Ward agreed, noting that they've left "no stone unturned," when inspecting the campus for more trouble spots. They've found a total of four depressions, but the other three will require only minor repairs.

"We've looked at it (the campus) from every possible angle," Ward said. "I tell you what, I would have no problem if my children or grandchildren came to school here."

Trapnell's 570 students are attending classes at the nearby Strawberry Crest High School and Bailey Elementary School.

Hegarty said the kids seem to enjoy the change in scenery, but they're ready to be back to their old classrooms, as are the teachers.

Follow This Just In on Twitter.

Crews back to work filling Trapnell Elementary's ground depression 02/03/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 3, 2010 12:59pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Too much of education bill done ‘behind closed doors,’ GOP contender for governor says

    Blogs

    Republican candidate for governor Adam Putnam joined the chorus of critics of the Florida Legislature’s massive K-12 education bill that heavily favors charter schools over traditional public schools.

    2018 Republican gubernatorial candidate Adam Putnam and Gov. Rick Scott talk on the first day of the Legislature's annual session in March.
  2. John Morgan 'prepared to invest $100M' in medical marijuana

    State Roundup

    John Morgan spent nearly $7 million pushing two statewide ballot initiatives to expand medical marijuana throughout the state of Florida.

    Personal injury lawyer John Morgan says he's ready to invest $100 million in medical marijuana. [SCOTT KEELER | Tampa Bay Times]
  3. Avalos gets life in prison for killing Bradenton neighbor, pastor

    Crime

    BRADENTON — A Florida man has been sentenced to life in prison for killing a neighbor and a local pastor.

    Andres "Andy" Avalos has been sentenced to life in prison for killing a neighbor and a local pastor. 

[File photo from Manatee County Sheriff's Office]
  4. Manchester police hunt for accomplices; Islamic State group claims responsibility for blast

    Public Safety

    MANCHESTER, England — Investigators hunted Tuesday for possible accomplices of the suicide bomber who attacked an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, killing 22 people and sparking a stampede of young concertgoers, some still wearing the American pop star's trademark kitten ears and holding pink balloons.

    Emergency services work at Manchester Arena after reports of an explosion at the venue during an Ariana Grande gig in Manchester, England Monday, May 22, 2017. Several people have died following reports of an explosion Monday night at an Ariana Grande concert in northern England, police said. A representative said the singer was not injured.  [Peter Byrne | PA via AP]
  5. Why's Pam Bondi raising money? Not to run for office, she says.

    Blogs

    Term-limited Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi may have restarted her political fundraising, but she says she's not considering a run for another public office.

    Attorney General Pam Bondi