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King CLC target opening pushed back, again

8/8/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Becky Tompkins

The King Community Learning Center will not open for the start of school Aug. 28. Akron Public Schools officials discovered problems with the building’s fluid-applied air barrier. So the estimated date to move into the new building, already pushed back from this fall to Christmas break, will most likely be next summer. The King students and staff are currently housed at the APS swing space school at 400 W. Market St.
Photo: Becky Tompkins
WEST AKRON — The new King Community Learning Center (CLC) will not be open for the start of school Aug. 28.

The sprawling, mostly open three-story structure is under a tarp to prevent rain damage to the interior.

Last spring, Akron Public Schools (APS) facility officials discovered problems with the building’s fluid-applied air barrier. This is a barrier that is sprayed onto the exterior before the brick is applied to prevent moisture from getting into the building, explained Paul Flesher, APS executive director of facility planning and capital improvements.

On April 8, the APS Board of Education authorized terminating the contract with Giambrone Construction Inc., of Hudson, for noncompliant work if it did not submit a plan to remedy the problems within 15 days.

According to Flesher, the company did attempt to make repairs but not successfully. Then recently, the company repaired one area in the building, and the work was deemed acceptable by the building’s architect, Flesher said. But then, Flesher said, Giambrone refused to do any more repairs, so the APS terminated the company’s contract, he said.

The district is currently waiting for Giambrone’s bonding company to respond. Flesher said that company could either tell the APS to hire another contractor and it will assume responsibility or disagree with the APS’ decision and assume no responsibility.

If the latter happens, Flesher said, the district’s recovery of the money already paid to Giambrone would become a legal issue.

The district is preparing a project scope for the job now, Flesher said, and “we’ll get three quotes to finish the exterior work.” The school board can approve a new contract more quickly than usual by declaring an urgent necessity, since the air barrier work is holding up other segments of work.

“Inside, there is still some work to do, but that won’t be hard once the outside is done,” he said.

A new contract would also need to be approved by the Ohio School Facilities Commission, the district’s and city of Akron’s partner in the construction of the CLCs throughout the city. There are “a lot of moving parts” to be meshed together on this project, said Flesher.

So the estimated date to move into the new building, already pushed back from this fall to Christmas break, will most likely be next summer, he said. The King students and staff are currently housed at the APS swing space school at 400 W. Market St.

In other West Akron CLC news, the old Buchtel High School (BHS) building has been completely razed in front of the new Buchtel CLC, which opened last fall. The field where BHS stood is being leveled, Flesher said. When that is finished, grass will be planted and a parking area created in front, and a new traffic light will be installed in front of the school.

The Litchfield Middle School site and former track area are being leveled, and geothermal wells are being put in the ground. Workers are starting to put in the building pad, Flesher said, to “get all the elevations right so they can start digging the foundation” of the new Firestone/Litchfield CLC, scheduled to open in the fall of 2015.

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