The Fulton City School District is getting its lawyers involved to see if it can get back some of the money lost to errors in its district-wide construction project.
Superintendent Bill Lynch revealed this week that he has asked for legal opinions as members of the Board of Education expressed dissatisfaction with the cost of the mistakes and the problems those mistakes have caused.
It was sparked by discussion of yet another change required on the district’s athletic fields.Ã‚Â There was a discrepancy between the site drawings of the general contractor and the electrical contractor.Ã‚Â A trench that had been dug for electrical cable and refilled with dirt had to have the dirt removed and replaced with crushed stone.Ã‚Â Added cost:Ã‚Â $73,000.
“This field’s cost us a lot of money, huh?” said board member Dan Pawlewitz.
The athletic complex was supposed to have been completed in October.Ã‚Â Now, it won’t be ready until late next summer.Ã‚Â Workers found asbestos in the high jump and long jump pits that wasn’t found during the assessment.Ã‚Â That brought progress on the field to a halt as expensive asbestos removal took place.Ã‚Â Asbestos was also found in underground piping, though the district says that was not a foreseeable problem.
The delay meant that the rubberized track could not be laid down as it requires four days of dry, hot weather in order to set properly.Ã‚Â It’ll be summer before those conditions return, so the spring track season will be affected, just as the fall football season was.
Asbestos was also found beneath the tennis courts, which put that team at the city’s VanBuren Park courts for the fall girls season.
In the high school, another error.Ã‚Â The girls locker room renovation had to be revised when it was discovered that a beam slated to be taken out was a load bearing beam that had to stay.
Yet another mistake, in which drawings for a particular item were off by a couple of feet, added another $60,000 in costs.
The upshot:Ã‚Â The mistakes, along with the usual kinds of changes seen in a construction project, have drained 85% of the district’s $1.3 million contingency fund for the project, with a large portion of the project left to be done.
“That doesn’t give us a lot of room,” said board president Bob Ireland.
“We have to start discussions about what to do” to save money or remove items from the project in order to stay within the budget, said Terry LoConte, president of Ross Wilson and Associates, the district’s construction management firm.
“Is this typical?” asked Ireland of the extensive use of the contingency fund.
“No,” said LoConte.
“What expectation is there that there is some cost to the contractor, who we trusted?” asked board member Rae Howard.
That’s when Lynch revealed the district has been in touch with its lawyers and “put the appropriate players on notice.”
“There’s understandable conditions,” said Howard.Ã‚Â “But some of these things are too much.”
Lynch did not name the contractor, but many of the issues relate to the architectural drawings used to design the construction plans.