Doug Caywood of The Lewis Group, which is overseeing the project, said part of the existing pavement has started to deteriorate under the weight of asphalt trucks because the base put down was not thick enough when the parking lot was first built.
“They have found that a lot of the asphalt that was in place (from previous projects) was not made with adequate binder or base below it, so their trucks have had a lot of failure on the site,” Caywood said.
The solution is to add a thick layer of binder (a tar-like substance utilized to pave parking lots and roads) to make up for the lack of base and then add an additional half inch of top asphalt to what is already being poured as part of the new project. Funding will come from the school system’s reserve fund. The lot is estimated to last 10 to 20 years if repaired this way.
School board member Nicholas Lillios asked if there was a 10-year warranty on the work. Chambers said state law does not allow for such a guarantee to be made.
The approval of the change passed 5-1. Board member Chris Turner voted against the motion and member Troy Weathers was absent.
“I’m not a professional paver but this board is charged with making sure we are efficient with taxpayer resources ... how do we administratively make sure we do not get surprises and get what we expect?” Turner asked.
Geotechnical testing could have been done to determine what was beneath the surface of the pavement. This would have given the school system and the contractor information about the base the top layer of asphalt sat upon.
Such testing was estimated to cost $2,700 for such a project, according to Caywood. He said the board had not voted to have the geotechnical testing done and there had been no indication there would be problems with simply paving over the existing asphalt.
“We were trying to save money in that aspect, unless there is physical evidence (such as deep cracks) that geotech would be required,” Caywood said.
The originally plan was to simply pave over this site.
Rocky Chambers said the contractor had tried sealing the cracks with binder. After the contractor had tried fixing the problem with 90 tons of binder he was still unhappy with the structural integrity of the result. The contractor then went to Chambers and Caywood to look into a better solution.
Board member Christy Critchfield said she appreciated the contractor trying to fix the issue and bringing it to the board’s attention when a simple fix did not work.
“I have a feeling we have had people pave over it before and not tell us,” Critchfield said.
Chambers said if the contractor were simply to pave over the affected area the asphalt would have issues within five years.
Lillios asked for specifics of which area of the parking lot had not withstood the weight of the trucks. Lillios said he had been to the site and did not see the damage mentioned.
Caywood said this was because some of the damage had been temporarily fixed with the binder.
“When we went out there to design the project, looking at it there was no indication from the surface that it had not been put down properly,” Chambers said.
The school board originally approved $70,000 for the project. The project will expand and fix a parking lot at Ocoee Middle School and make it possible for the school to have a turnaround area during dropoff and dismissal to keep traffic off of North Ocoee Street.
Geotechnical testing is being done for other school projects.
A major paving project is being started at Prospect Elementary. Here, according to Caywood, there is obvious need for the testing based on the current state of the lot.
Geotechnical tests are also being completed at Lake Forest Middle School to gather information for building a proposed academic building. The project has not yet received needed funding for the project.
The board also granted executive approval for approving bids for various projects at many of the schools.