BY BEATRICE DUPUY
Cooper City High School is one of the two Broward County public schools that are being replaced after the district postponed all structural improvements for other schools in the district.
The main CCHS building, which has existed for nearly 40 years, will be replaced by new buildings and grounds that will cost approximately $27 million in stimulus funds.
“The need for a replacement school began to be recognized when a project to remodel the existing cafeteria/kitchen was formed in 1998-99,” CCHS facility manager Steve Dowling said in an e-mail. “A decade spent on planning a major undertaking of this type is not too unusual.”
The replacement of the campus’s buildings is not a result of the school “sinking,” as reported by the Sun-Sentinel, but rather the exterior water intrusion corroding some of the lightweight steel framing that supports the main building’s exterior.
“I don’t know of any structures on the Cooper High campus that are sinking,” Dowling said. “I’m not sure how the term ‘sinking’ came into use at all.”
This water intrusion poses a serious issue, since a building contracts and expands with the changing temperature of the building itself.
“Due to AC use and roof leaks, we have serious water intrusion issues,” Principal Wendy Doll said. “It’s not cost effective to maintain the old school.”
One of the problems associated with the water intrusion is that the doors have difficulty being opened.
“The alignment of the doors to the science classrooms in Building No. 01 were caused by corrosion of the steel door frames brought on by water intrusion,” Dowling said.
The roof of the main building is one of the most expensive ongoing repairs for CCHS. Instead of replacing the roof, the district will wait for the entire building to be replaced.
According to Shelley Maloni, Director of Design and Planning of the Broward County School Board, there are no current safety concerns in regards to the building.
“It’s not going to crumble down in a year,” Maloni said.
Two main phases of the replacement have been completed: the 3400 building and the new cafeteria. The Office of Educational Facilities, a part of Florida Department of Education, has made recommendations for replacements, and neither the media center nor the auditorium were suggested to be replaced as they are two of the newest buildings on CCHS’s campus.
“The master plan includes a new administration/classroom building that includes technical and business labs, a new custodial storage building, new gymnasium buildings including locker rooms, a new technical building to include music and art, JROTC, ESE, Business Education and Family and Consumer Sciences,” Dowling said.
There are also plans to construct a new automotive technology building and to remodel one of the old buildings into a new child development suite. All other old buildings will be demolished.
“The district is spending considerable resources maintaining the building now,” Dowling said. “Those expenditures will dramatically increase in future years as the building continues to age.”
CCHS students can expect to see these new developments as soon as 2013-2014 school year. These dates will only remain effective however, as long as the phased-replacement is taken off of hold from Perez & Perez Architects.