LOSD settles one claim, but a new one surfaces

The first phase of disputes over a faulty construction job at Lake Oswego High School concluded last week, but the school district isn't out of the woods yet.

A related dispute was filed at Multnomah County Circuit Court a few weeks prior. Charter Construction, the contractor that worked to remedy water infiltration deficiencies at LOHS last summer, contends the school district delayed payments and caused cost overruns as the project grew in scope. It says the district owes it $2.5 million.

'We do have a disagreement over the application of contract terms for additional work that was required to complete the work that was undertaken in 2010,' district finance director Stuart Ketzler said.

The timing of the claim lines up with a settlement payment the district will receive from Robinson Construction, which the district believed had improperly installed construction materials during the building's construction in 2005. District administrators recently signed the dotted line to receive $6.7 million for that claim.

'It reaches a level with Robinson that we were hoping to reach,' said Superintendent Bill Korach, though he acknowledged: 'It will not take care of everything.'

The school district originally filed a $1.2 million claim against Robinson Construction in July 2009 after administrators discovered the water infiltration and its damages.

At the time, the district had planned to do a quick fix until the claim with Robinson was settled, but as workers began the repairs, they realized the extent of the damage was greater than administrators originally thought.

Those associated costs were added to the claim, and the district's final complaint asked for $8 million plus reasonable attorney fees.

Reconstruction began in earnest during the summer of 2010, when the district hired Charter Construction.

This summer, the district contracted with COR Construction for another $1.8 million of work, and just this fall the gym and wrestling room at Lake Oswego High School were closed due to structural issues that could potentially cause a collapse in a severe weather event, such as an earthquake.

The latest round of repairs was not included in the Robinson Construction settlement, and the agreement releases the contractor from any alleged design deficiencies or damages that might be discovered in the future.

A few weeks ago, the school board approved a change order with COR Construction for another $1.1 million of work, so that they could begin those additional repairs. Construction will take at least three months, said Rob Dreier, LOSD director of building infrastructure.

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