Two ‘dropouts’ discovered at West Ridge High School construction site

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SULLIVAN COUNTY, Tenn. (WJHL)- Sullivan County school leaders said construction crews discovered two dropouts, which are similar to sinkholes, on the construction site of West Ridge High School. 

School leaders broke ground on the site in May 2018.

It was originally scheduled to open next Fall but due to excessive rain, the date was pushed back to Fall 2021.

Sullivan County Board Chairman Michael Hughes said the board was informed about the two dropouts during their work session Tuesday night. 

“The structural engineers showed up yesterday for our workshop and told us about the latest dropouts on site and told us what they were going to do to address them,” Hughes said.

He said the board has already fixed three dropouts previously found on the construction site. 

“It was $13,500 so we won’t know the exact cost of these but it will be somewhere in that neighborhood,” Hughes said.

For a project this size, Hughes said it’s typical to have some dropouts on the construction site.

News Channel 11 spoke with Arpita Nandi, geology department chair at East Tennessee State University, to see how common dropouts were in East Tennessee.

“East Tennessee has so much of sinkholes,” Nandi said. “In a couple of hundred acres of land, having five, ten sinkholes base number plus the size really matters if you have small sinkholes versus big sinkholes would also matter, but these are not very uncommon.”

It’s another bump in the for the controversial project.

It comes just a week after Sullivan County commissions passed a resolution to ask the school board to halt the project due to financing concerns. 

“I can certainly say I would not support it and I don’t think the board as a whole would support it,” Hughes said. “There will never be a project this size that there are not issues, bumps in the road from time to time.”

We’re told work has already started to fix these dropouts. The dropouts will be filled with concrete, according to Hughes.

Hughes said there was money budgeted for contingencies.

West Ridge High School will still open in Fall 2021.

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