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Heavy snow exposes weakness in new Lincoln Park school roof

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The cafeteria of Lincoln Park Middle School will be closed for most of July through mid-August while repairs are made to some of the wooden trusses supporting the ceiling.

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In early February, district employees noticed a deformed connecting plate on a truss, and had it inspected by LHB of Duluth, the building’s design engineer, said Kerry Leider, the district’s property and risk manager.

LHB, working with the truss manufacturer, Timber Systems from Lapeer, Mich., found that Timber Systems didn’t adequately calculate how much snow the trusses could handle, Leider said.

The discovery was made before a weekend swim meet at the school. The meet was moved to Ordean East Middle School so the heavy snow could be removed. The trusses have been reinforced and the district has been removing snow until summer when complete repairs can be made. Timber Systems is responsible for paying for the work. Leider wasn’t sure of the cost.

Summer school will be held through July 3, and repairs will begin after that. The abnormal amount of snow Duluth received this year caused several roofs and overhangs in the area to collapse, Leider said.

“I wouldn’t say students were ever in danger,” he said. “But the level of safety that engineers require was not met, so additional precautions were taken.”

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