- Austin ISD uses 2013 Bond money to pay non-AISD employees to slant T.A. Brown reports – to support $30M replacement, and ignores subcontract engineer’s request for structural foundation analysis.
- TCTU asks AISD Trustees to fund a truly independent structural foundation analysis with Sparks Engineering from San Antonio.
Austin, TX – TCTU calls on Austin ISD Trustees to employ Structural engineering experts at Sparks Engineering, a highly competent, independent company based in San Antonio, for a real “second opinion” of the November 2016 decision to demolish and rebuild T.A. Brown Elementary School.
In a MyStatesman.com report back in June, Austin ISD claimed a “second set of structural engineers validated the consultants work” relating to the executive decision to demolish the building. Detailed e-mail exchanges received by TCTU in a Public Information Request contradict this claim. The e-mails show a second engineer from the same single subcontract company (P.E. Structural Consultants) merely took additional photographs of additional foundation areas. More importantly, the original Oct. 4th, 2016 structural report, under “Recommendations”, asked for a report which was never done:
“ 1. Perform additional structural investigation work:
… b) Analyze Channel Capacity: Run analyses as needed to verify original channel sections have enough capacity to support current code loads.
TCTU has examined PIR requests which prove this recommended analysis WAS NEVER DONE, and instead, photographs were separated from the report and sensationalized on large posters for the “Press Conference” justifying the school closure. The “second report” was a fourth draft of a similar “Facility Condition Assessment” (FCA) – a total of six FCA reports were produced. The final report, issued in May 2017 and stamped with a P.E. seal, did NOT recommend demolishing the school, but rather recommended two repair options, followed a replacement option, depending on final cost analysis.
TCTU also has information from AISD Govalle foundation repairs that suggest AISD Contractors bloated T.A. Brown repair estimates from 5 to 10 times higher than the probable cost (based on known Govalle repair cost).
Sparks Engineering proposes a proper analysis of the T.A. Brown foundation, including:
* Field measurements of representative structural elements.
- Materials testing & inspection:
- In–situ testing for the depth of carbonation in the concrete at up to 5 locations.
This will require several small diameter drill probes into the concrete.
- Laboratory testing of the concrete for the presence of damaging salts (chlorides,
nitrates and sulfates); 5 samples.
iii. Perform a comparative moisture survey at selective locations in the crawlspace.
* Structural analysis of representative framing elements, with an accurate estimate of the
deterioration, to identify the need for strengthening or additional support, as appropriate.
* A written report summarizing our observations, opinions, and recommendations.
* An opinion of cost for the identified structural repairs or strengthening.
TCTU has reviewed extensive public information requests which reveal remarkable conflicts in Austin ISD’s “Facility Condition Assessment” process for T.A. Brown Elementary, which support TCTU’s June 2017 accusation that AISD was deliberately exaggerating T.A. Brown foundation conditions to demolish a repairable school building, to run up the tab. Additional information from “Govalle library” foundation repairs, cited as justification for exorbitant “estimates” for Brown repair, suggest Sunland and AECOM employees inflated repair costs by about 10 times to support a demolition decision.
TCTU Director Don Zimmerman adds, “Taxpayers, parents and teachers deserve to know the truth regarding the T.A. Brown school building, and to have diligence in lowering costs and taxes.
TCTU calls on Austin ISD Trustees to move forward with an honest second opinion on T.A. Brown”.
TCTU Analyst Roger Falk adds, “AISD’s prevarication with respect to Brown Elementary, brings into question their crumbling infrastructure narrative; the AECOM work product highlights a deficit of trust. It appears AISD is more concerned with selling bonds than efficiently maintaining the tax payers property”.
For more information on Sparks Engineering structural analysis offer:
Info @ sparksengineering.com
210/ 229 – 0669
For more information on the PIR documentation analyzed by TCTU: