The Estherville Lincoln Central Community School District Board of Education in a special session Tuesday agreed to retain Roger Gilbert, project manager/owner’s representative for the middle-school project.
To date the district has paid Gilbert $70,000 of his $100,000 contract.
The board had called the special meeting after board members Don Schiltz and Mike Karels had concerns over whether Gilbert was doing the work he agreed to do in his contract. Schiltz and Karels, along with ELC board president Molly Jo Anderson, serve on the construction committee along with Gilbert, project architect Ed Wineinger and Superintendent Dick Magnuson.
In addressing the issue in special session Tuesday, Magnuson noted concerns over Gilbert, particularly as related to the building budget. Magnuson said Gilbert’s estimate for serving as owner’s representative was substantially lower than other bids the district had received. He said the amount paid to Gilbert to date was still well below the $100,000 budgeted for his contract.
Anderson asked whether the building committee, which had met with Wineinger and Gilbert, had a recommendation.
“I sense that our project manager is working for the architect,” Schiltz said. “That’s what I sense there.”
Schiltz said Dean Christensen of Christensen Construction did not feel it would be cost-effective for the district to keep Gilbert.
“I just don’t feel we’re getting the benefits that we should,” Schiltz said. “I hear the same thing. The roof’s going on. The walls are up. Everything’s OK.”
“There have been a few things Roger’s caught. Roger’s caught a few things before Dean got there,” Karels said.
Magnuson said the idea of hiring an owner’s representative was project quality control. He addressed Schiltz’s concern that Gilbert was working for the architect. “From my perspective that’s not true,” Magnuson said. He has received daily reports from Gilbert and that he (Magnuson) just recently started relaying those reports to the building committee.
“Those notes have nothing to do with the quality of the building,” Schiltz said.
Anderson had concerns that if Gilbert were taken off the project that project supervisory responsibilities would be shifted to Magnuson.
Magnuson was quick to point out that he did not have the expertise to supervise the project.
Gilbert said if he finds deficiencies in the project, it is noted in his daily logs. “There are a number of items in there,” he said.
Board member Duane Schnell said he was concerned that the architect caught things that Gilbert had not.
Gilbert said one of those items was hydroseeding which he had already addressed with Wineinger. “I have been primarily concerned with the structure of the building and the quality of the project that you can’t see after it’s covered up,” Gilbert said.
Gilbert also addressed a concern of Wineinger’s that drainage was not done correctly. “It was in fact done correctly,” Gilbert said.
Gilbert also said he had called the contractor’s attention that rebar had not been put in.
Schnell asked when the project manager’s job should be completed.
Gilbert said once the finish work begins he will work fewer hours. “I won’t charge over what was budgeted in the contract,” he said.
Schnell said three Christensen employees had approached him “dead set against Roger.” Schnell added, “It sure put some questions in the back of my mind.”
Anderson asked if Gilbert would be willing to do a walk-through with principals.
“I will do that anytime the principals want me to,” Gilbert said. He added that he had helped Kevin Richardson, technology director, with plans for installing television brackets.
“That was a big change order if I recall correctly,” Schiltz said.
Anderson said the brackets were ordered too early and were not the right size for the televisions.
Schiltz moved that the district cancel its contract with Gilbert and give him a 30-day notice.
Karels said after Gilbert started sending out documentation he felt better that he was doing something.
Anderson suggested that the board could better define its expectations of Gilbert and Schnell said the reason the board hired an owner’s representative was to make sure the project went according to plan.
“Do we want to spent it ($30,000) on our kids or do we want to spend it on one individual,” Schiltz asked.
Anderson said that all parties wanted to ensure project quality.
“From my perspective, this is a large project,” Magnuson said, encouraging the board to retain Gilbert.
“I’m uneasy about pulling his (Gilbert’s) eyes off the site,” Schnell said.
Schiltz’s motion to release Gilbert from his contract died for a lack of a second.
The board also discussed concerns over flooring in Demoney. Magnuson said control joints could be installed in the concrete floors there and that cracks could be sealed.
The board agreed that it liked the low maintenance of burnished concrete floors and agreed to do the same floors in the middle school.