GALT — Superintendent William Spalding on Thursday said the Galt Joint Union High School District will hold a Lodi company accountable for the damage suffered by an 8-year-old structure due to rain last summer.

Spalding provided the district’s Board of Trustees with an update of Liberty Ranch High School’s Building 700, also known as the Ag Building during its regular meeting.

Lodi-based F&H Construction built the structure, and work crews in August discovered that a parapet wall, which provides a five to six foot extended barrier along the building’s roof, had not been installed properly during construction nearly a decade ago.

Spalding said at least three of the building’s four walls suffered water-related damage, the majority of it found on the south side.

Work crews last month found damage to the sheer plywood on the building’s west wall, he said, as well as  some damage to the north wall.

The heavy rains experienced, although short, soaked the insulation in the building, as well as the ceiling tiles, carpets and interior, Spalding said.

As a result, the building was deemed too unsafe for occupation during the 2019-2020 school year.

Spalding said the water intrusion in the building was the result of poor workmanship.

“We had to peel the building back like an onion to detect the scope of the damage,” Spalding said. “Rather than demolish the building like you’d normally demolish one, we’re trying to save it.”

Earlier in the evening, the board voted 3-0 to approve contracts with Belfor Property Restoration and Swinerton Construction for restoration and demolition of the building, respectively.

Exact costs of each contract will not be known until sometime next week, Spalding said.

Currently, crews have placed scaffolding around the structure and wrapped it in weather-resistant tarp so repairs can be made during the coming winter months.

Spalding said the planning and design phase is currently underway, adding he Department of State Archtects should approve plans in December.

Construction should begin in January, and Spalding said the goal is to have the building open by next fall.

“We’re working off the original plans,” he said. “The effort is to try and restore it to as it was, or at least what it was supposed to be, rather than just demolish the whole thing and start over.”

Five agricultural classes in Building 700 were displaced, including architectural biology, mechanics, welding and floriculture.

Classes were relocated to Galt High and Estrellita High schools.

Spalding said the district is working on obtaining a waiver from the Office of Public School Construction for funding and support to cover the cost of repairs.

Another update of the reconstruction process will be at the next meeting on Nov. 7, he said.

Trustees Mark Beck and Terry Parker-Owning were absent from the meeting.

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