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Lighting strike creates emergency U-46 expense

By Seth Hancock
  The Board of Education in School District U-46 unanimously approved, of an emergency proposal, presented and approved the same evening, at its meeting on Monday, Nov. 2 which was held electronically due to COVID-19 regulations.
  The item was an emergency chimney repair at Elgin’s Abbott Middle School, the repairs already having taken place between Sept. 21 and Oct. 26 by Jimmy ‘Z Masonry Corp, Crystal Lake. The total cost was $126,054 and will be paid for through the operations and maintenance fund.
  “During a thunderstorm, the chimney at Abbott Middle School was struck by lightning, which caused considerable damage,” the proposal stated. “Without performing emergency repairs, there was an imminent risk of failure, including falling debris and damage to the physical structure of the building. This issue would also make it impossible to use the chimney to support the boilers’ operation during the heating season.”
  The proposal added that “the storm caused substantial damage that needed to be fixed in order to address both a safety and operational hazard.”
  Sheila Downs, director of plant operations, said that the lightning strike took place at “the end of July” when asked by Sue Kerr, the board’s president.
  Abbott’s chimney is 88 years old and was tuckpointed in 2015 during a larger capital project at the school. It was “in good condition prior to the storm,” the proposal stated.

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