Neighbors air concerns about blasting for school

By MELISSA ARNOLD State Journal Staff Writer Published:

Derek Rayborn, Choateville resident and owner of D-Rex Enterprises, told the Franklin County Board of Education at Monday's meeting that the blasting for the new school to replace Bald Knob Elementary had caused a "heck of a mess."

He said in the Choateville area there are residents with holes in their floors, sinking floors, rocks falling in their yards and doors no longer shutting properly because of the blasting.

"There's been one mess after another, and I think someone needs to take a look around," he said. "We have been given the run-around, and we aren't happy out there at all. We aren't getting treated right."

Choateville resident George Harrod also spoke to the board and presented papers of concerned neighbors who have had problems with their homes since the blasting had begun.

"I would appreciate a followup or any help you can give us," he said. "We are worried about the future damage this may cause to our homes, and there have been over 64 blasts, which equals 64 small earthquakes."

Assistant Superintendent John Vickers told the board he had received 15 phone calls from concerned parents regarding safety of the blasting.

"I've notified the architect about all of these calls, and they've assured me they've forwarded this to their contractors," he said. "I want to keep the people out there happy."

Phil Gayheart, architect with Sherman-Carter-Barnhart, the architectural firm on the new school, said about 85 to 90 percent of the blasting is complete.

"The blasting should be done in three weeks at the most unless the weather interferes," he said. "We will have to do a survey of all of the damage reported. The contractors have contacted the insurance adjusters."

Gayheart reported to the board that some of the foundation work has begun.

Chairman Doug Crowe said the board would get a final assessment of the damage after the blasting and apologized if the school system hadn't been good neighbors to the Choateville residents.

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