After Surfside, question raised of school buildings’ structural integrity

In the wake of the Surfside tragedy, Miami-Dade County school board member Maria Teresa Rojas introduced an agenda item that directs the superintendent to present next month a report detailing the structural integrity of the district’s 400+ facilities.

“I believe 200 are over 40 years [old], and I said we got to do this,” she said Wednesday.

Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said he is “absolutely confident that the structural integrity of our buildings is very good.”

The district has already invested millions of dollars in building improvements — including “those addressing critical safety deficiencies including those of a structural nature” — through the continued implementation of a general obligation bond.

Plus, the superintendent says the district’s own safety inspectors inspect schools every year.

“In addition to that every one of our schools goes through an in-depth structural analysis and examination by a licensed structural engineer and architect every 10 years, so we are not dealing with a 40-year span of time like residential buildings,” he said.

The idea of generating a new report outlining the district’s protocols for building inspections was co-sponsored by several board members. They also want to review whether any additional funds may be necessary:

“To ensure that if there are any issues, they are addressed expeditiously,” Rojas said. “We have some covered by the bonds, but I believe that we will need additional ones based on the fact that we have over 200 facilities that are over 40 years in age.”

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