Crews Work To "Lift" North Hamilton Elementary Before Kids Go Back To School

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Winnie Wright
August 4, 2014

Valdosta, GA - North Hamilton Elementary School is sinking. Around four inches since it was built, 87 years ago.

On Monday, crews began to actually lift the school back up.

"We come in and we take pre-measurements of the elevations of the floor. We put blue tape on the floor about every ten feet, we write down the current elevation, we take our altimeter tool, and we measure our current elevation based upon our lifting, so as we come up, we can see the difference. And since we've started, we've already brought the school up 3/4 of an inch", says Matthew Miller, Project Manager and President of Ram Jack.

Why is the school sinking? According to Miller, simply put, it's old, and a lot of feet have run up and down these halls since 1927. They say, the school was built very well, but with time, the floors have caved in and walls have begun to buckle.

"School starts here in two weeks and we want to make sure that we aren't concerned about any safety issues", says Hamilton County Schools Superintendent, Tom Moffses.

Engineers say they've lifted the school about two inches, but they could actually lift it a total of four. They just don't want to cause any additional damage to the outside of the school. But still today, if you take a ball, and you drop it on the floor, the ball is going to roll to the lowest point, because the floor is still uneven.

Miller says the school is safe, and his crews can always come back in and continue lifting the school, when they are sure no damage has been to it structurally.

Superintendent Moffses says, plans are underway to move the students to a new school. He says, he hopes the school will continue to be a focal point in the community, after the students are gone.

North Hamilton Elementary has been placed on the National Registry of Historic Places.