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Heer's declared structurally sound

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by Karen E. Culp

SBJ Staff

The Heer's Building is structurally sound, according to a report by structural engineer Bill Bergmann, of Butler, Rosenbury & Partners.

In his March 27 report, Bergmann stated that the "facade-supporting frame appeared to be in good structural condition."

Bergmann also said that thermal movement of the steel frame may be part of the problem causing the window cracking, but that the frame is no more susceptible to movement now than it was 30 years ago when it was installed, the report states.

Although the report goes on to say that Bergmann cannot comment on the glass installation frames or glazing, he "initially supposed that there was a possibility that loss of flexibility in the window sealant and gaskets may have been a contributing factor in the window failures."

Because he then found the gaskets and sealants still pliable, he "now suspect(s) that this may not be a contributing factor." He added that vandalism is not the sole reason for the window failures and that, because of air pressure, once two or three windows are out, the other windows become more susceptible to breakage.

The owner of the property, Warren Davis Properties, will begin replacing the panels within the next couple of weeks, said Jerry King, acting director of Building Services.

"Ron Shepherd (of Davis Properties) has indicated to me that they have ordered the replacement panels and we have a building permit for a company to replace those panels once they are in," King said.

The property managers also must check the property twice per day, as suggested in the structural engineer's report, King said. Once the panels are replaced as recommended, the Heer's building will come off the dangerous-buildings list, King said.

Although the repairs will probably be made within the next two weeks, King said he is not working with a rigid time frame.

"They have performed the actions I asked and done what I requested. They've been very cooperative," he said.

Half of Park Central West opened April 14. King said the other half will open when the glass is replaced and no danger of falling glass remains. Several weeks ago, a pane of glass fell from the building and damaged the rear window of a car below.

"That glass has been in there for a number of years, and it's only logical that from time to time it will break," King said.

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