Long Beach high reopening despite collapse

Stucco panels, insulation and wires that fell when Stucco panels, insulation and wires that fell when a large area of drop ceiling collapsed lie in an area used for parking at Long Beach High School. (April 6, 2012) Photo Credit: Fred Kopf

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Long Beach High School will reopen, as scheduled, on Monday, despite a ceiling collapse that occurred while the school was closed for spring break, officials said.

That announcement came as schools Superintendent David Weiss said a suspended ceiling that partially collapsed at the school last week was being removed -- and that the core structure that supported that overhang was not damaged.

The removal follows an assessment, evaluation and remediation by structural engineers, architects and a construction management firm, Weiss said in a statement released this week.

The collapse on April 6 caused the drop ceiling over the staff parking area to fall, sending half-inch-thick panels of concrete, wires and insulation crashing to the ground.

It happened on Good Friday, so no one was in the school -- and no one was injured.

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The school, built in 1971, has been undergoing construction and renovation for months.

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Weiss said that after the collapse the decision was made to remove the remainder of the suspended ceiling. In his statement, Weiss called it "an important safety decision that completely removes the possibility of any further issues, since the structures will be gone." That structure covered an overhang area that included a carport and a secondary carport, he said. The affected area did not include interior spaces occupied by students or staff, the superintendent said.

Weiss' statement said that removal of the drop ceiling would be completed before school resumed Monday.

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