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Work begins at CCC on additional repairs from 2013 tornado

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Posted: Friday, January 16, 2015 12:00 pm

MOREHEAD CITY — Work has begun on the first floor wall and windows of the Michael J. Smith Learning Resource Center at Carteret Community College to repair damage caused by an EF-2 tornado that hit the campus Nov. 26, 2013.

The college recently finished repairs to the second floor walls and windows on the sound side, which were severely damaged by the tornado. The additional damage to the first floor, also on the sound side, was discovered in mid-November last year, according to CCC plant operations director Steve Sparks.

The large storefront windows and 80-foot-long wall on the first floor shifted since the initial damage was discovered, Mr. Sparks said Wednesday. The additional damage was found after Crystal Coast Civic Center employees, whose offices are on the first floor of the Smith Building, complained in mid-November about ceiling tiles falling.

When Mr. Sparks went to investigate, he realized the large storefront windows on the first floor had shifted outward. He immediately called architect Ken Burnette of Morehead City and the engineer who had signed off on the repair work completed on the second floor.

Mr. Sparks said when engineers did the original inspection on the Smith Building in 2013 they had warned him that additional damage may surface at a later time.

“They had told me there could be stored up wall energy that wouldn’t show up until later,” he said.

Because the damage was related to the tornado, Mr. Sparks said the college’s insurance will cover the cost of repairs, estimated at $72,500, including $10,000 in contingency.

Mr. Sparks said the engineer recommended installing eight 6-inch-by-2-inch steel beams inside of the wall to stabilize the first floor. The work already done to the second floor should not be affected, according to Mr. Sparks. The beams will run from the ground up to the top of the first floor.

The civic center offices have been temporarily relocated to the second floor of the civic center, which is connected to the Smith Building, until repairs are completed. Mr. Sparks hopes work will be finished the first part of March.

The large windows and frames have already been removed, and a temporary exterior wall has been built and will remain until work is finished.

L.A. Downey and Son Construction Co. of Morehead City is doing the work. It’s the same company that made repairs to the second floor of the building.

With the additional damage to the college, the total cost of tornado damage to the campus is now estimated at nearly $1.3 million. All but a $5,000 deductible was covered by insurance.

The Smith Building is one of five campus buildings that sustained major damage when the tornado cut a destructive path across Atlantic Beach and through residential areas of Morehead City. The majority of repairs to the campus and communities have been completed, but some work still continues on condominiums and homes. Total cost of damage to the county is now estimated at more than $3.9 million.

Contact Cheryl Burke at 252-726-7081, ext. 255; email Cheryl@thenewstimes.com; or follow on Twitter @cherylccnt.

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