Colorado Schools May Be Subject to Additional, Tougher Inspections

DENVER – In response to an audit showing that many Colorado public schools have not received building and fire inspections, state lawmakers may soon be adopting legislation requiring more stringent cite checks.

According to the Associated Press (AP), some school fire officials haven’t been visited by an inspector in 20 years. Additionally, the state currently bars the state building inspector from conducting reviews that require an overnight trip. As a result, campuses on the Western Slope often are not inspected. The state building inspector also told the AP he was required to provide certificates of occupancy based on blueprints and engineering reports.

One fire official says the state is very lucky no student has died as a result of a school building collapse or fire. Back in 2004, state fire officials put together a report outlining the risks on campuses in the state.

In 2005, a study done by the Donnell-Kay Foundation found that 88 percent of the state’s districts had at least one health and safety construction issue. Repairing the problems could cost more than $400 million.

The possible legislation may require additional audits, provide fire districts with the ability to enforce code or transfer the building inspection responsibility to the department of public safety. Some of these proposed changes have been blocked in the past, however, so certain agencies wouldn’t lose control. Whatever the solutions, they will take time to implement because they involve complex issues, such as snow on roofs and fire hydrant heights, that take time to resolve.

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