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After Dennis Lab closure, Decatur Public Schools hires engineers to check structural safety of all district schools

Warning tape cordons off Dennis Lab School's Kaleidoscope Campus on June 27, 2023.

DECATUR — Decatur Public Schools has hired an engineering company to check the structural safety of all 24 of its buildings.

The DPS District 61 school board made the decision at its meeting on Tuesday.

The district closed its two Dennis Lab School buildings this summer because a main staircase and wall were deteriorating.

The state doesn’t require structural inspections, so DPS had no idea Dennis had any issues until an engineer visited.

The school board spoke with the two candidate companies at its meeting last week. Both companies inspected Dennis this summer.

The first was Klingner & Associates from Quincy. The second was Bacon/Farmer/Workman Engineering & Testing from Champaign.

According to district spokesperson Denise Swarthout, the district will work out the cost and timeline when they draft the contract with the company.

Emily Hays is a reporter for Illinois Public Media.

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Emily Hays

Emily Hays

Emily Hays started at WILL in October 2021 after three-plus years in local newsrooms in Virginia and Connecticut. She has won state awards for her housing coverage at Charlottesville Tomorrow and her education reporting at the New Haven Independent. Emily graduated from Yale University where she majored in History and South Asian Studies.

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