The Greece School Board is expected to vote Tuesday on whether to accept a $5.2 million payment to settle the Greece Central School District’s claim against an architectural firm the district accuses of botching plans for and the oversight of a $120 million districtwide renovation project.
The project, which the district started planning in 2000 and financed with a $119.5 million bond issue, was plagued by delays and cost overruns and left its school buildings with a catalog of shortfalls, most of which it blamed on the architectural firm’s alleged poor planning and supervision.
The district sued California-based Tetra Tech Engineers, Architects & Landscape Architects P.C. and its Ithaca subsidiary, Thomas Associates Architects & Engineers, in 2008.
Terms of the settlement—approved by state Supreme Court Judge William Polito on Sept. 18—include the district’s agreement to help Tetra Tech press a related but separately filed claim against an engineering firm in progress in Polito’s court if needed and the architectural firm’s agreement to pay the $5.2 million within 90 days of pact’s signing.
The parties have not yet inked the agreement but would be expected to sign it shortly after a school board vote to approve the deal, said Greece Central Schools attorney Edward Hourihan Jr.
The Tetra Tech payment plus some $200,000 the school district won separately from other parties associated with the capital improvement project would completely cover the school district’s costs to fix the construction snafus and would pay for its legal bills, added Hourihan, a litigator in Bond, Schoeneck & King PLLC’s Rochester-area office.
Tetra Tech officials did not respond to a request for comment.
Among faults the district blamed on Tetra Tech’ alleged failure to properly oversee the project in its 2008 court complaint:
• a performing arts center at Athena High School with 180 seats with blocked views of the stage;
• HVAC systems that failed to properly heat and cool buildings;
• non-working security-card systems at seven schools;
• a substandard roof at West Ridge Elementary School;
• poorly reinforced walls in the gym; and
• drainage problems at Longridge Elementary School as well as “numerous other design errors.”
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