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Landscaping at Rock Hill schools cause for concern

PEDRO -- Some things are missing at Rock Hill's new elementary and high school, and the project manager is not happy about it.

Project manager Warren Whitesell told the school board in a special meeting Friday night that the landscape contractor, Earthco of Columbus, has yet to plant trees and other items at the schools, and has not yet applied topsoil and grass seeding in some areas. This work was supposed to have been completed in October. Whitesell said the contractor is also late turning in necessary paperwork on his project.

"We're between a rock and a hard place," Whitesell told the board. "We're still fighting this guy to get him back down here. He has made a meager attempt to address some of the issues at the high school but, not at the elementary."

Whitesell said he realized the last couple weeks have been cold and damp, but the weeks prior to these were sufficiently agreeable that this work could have been done.

"Are there any penalties he would absorb for not having the job finished on time?" board member Richie Donohoe asked.

"We have in the contract liquidated damages, but the OSFC (Ohio School facilities Commission) is usually gun shy on assessing them. I think we should, but I have another owner that has not stepped up to the plate to address the issue," Whitesell replied. "I have another contractor who could have finished the job."

"This delay is going to cost six months," Donohoe said, noting that with winter about to set in, this work may have to wait until spring.

In other matters, the board agreed to three change orders, two affecting work at the newly remodeled middle school and one affecting work at the new high school and elementary school.

The board approved a change order of $107,770.31 to Mechanical Construction for electrical wiring work at the middle school kitchen. The kitchen wiring was upgraded to handle the new equipment that was installed. A second change order of $48,492.35 to Glennco and Associates was for additional plumbing work that was part of the project.

Superintendent Lloyd Evans explained to the

board that the kitchen was not originally supposed to be remodeled, but in the course of remodeling other areas of the building, it was determined the kitchen was in need of

renovation as well.

"This was not under contract, so we wound up remodeling the kitchen with a change order," Evans said.

A third change order to Glennco and Associates, totaled $14,005.72.

Board members thanked Whitesell for his supervision of the school building and remodeling projects.

"Like I've told you before, you've always been on the job," board member Carl Large said. "It's an honor to have you."

The board also agreed Friday night to create and post the position of recreation direction for the school's youth basketball league and provided the elementary school for the youth league's use.

Board member Wanda Jenkins

noted at the beginning of the meeting that this was the first session in two months that Large had attended due to a recent illness. A special meeting was cancelled when Large collapsed and had to be taken to the hospital.

"It's good to see you sitting in that chair," Jenkins said.

"Prayers were answered," Large replied.