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Drilling tests potential new high school sites

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By Geoff Hamill

 

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A new Washington County High School has not yet been built, but the first testing for the new school began Monday morning.
Consulting Services Incorporated of Lexington, Ky., was on two locations being considered as possible sites for the proposed new high school Monday. The company was the low bidder for a project to perform geotechnical exploration.
According to Superintendent of Washington County Schools Robin Cochran, the work was being done on two locations that were determined by the board of education as “suitable sites” for a new high school.
The two properties being tested are owned by Joe Davis and Tommy Ward. The Davis property is located at the corner of Mackville Road and US 150, and the Ward property is just off KY 555 and the new Springfield Northwest Bypass. Cochran said both property owners had provided written permission for the testing to be done.

Cochran said the work was being done on just those two sites at this time as a money-saving effort for the county. She said drilling would only be done on other locations if necessary, but also stressed that this action does not rule out the possibility of the other locations being the site for a new high school.
Bruce Hatcher, a geotechnical engineer with Consulting Services Incorporated of Kentucky, said the testing will determine if the sites are stable and would be good selections for a new high school to be built upon.
“When school properties are being purchased, you have to do a preliminary geotechnical study, and we began drilling today. The purpose is to look for major problems with the property,” Hatcher said. “Basically, this test will be a broad overview of potential geotechnical issues such as sink holes, existing fill materials or signs of previous construction on the site.”
In Central Kentucky, Hatcher said sink holes are the most likely discovery, and if found, the holes could be a reason to choose another site over one with sink holes, but he said other issues would also have to be considered.
“Signs of previous improvements, such as building or grading, is also a concern. When it’s been regraded, there’s always a possibility they buried construction debris, boulders, trees, cars, or just about anything you can think of, and that is definitely not desirable,” Hatcher explained.
He said the results of the current tests should be back to school board members within two weeks.
CSI was the low bidder for the testing, although bids were not required because the job was under $20,000, and was for a professional service. The total cost for testing both of the current sites will be $5,700, according to a copy of the company’s proposal.