PRINCETON: New lawsuit filed over high school construction

Source: The Princeton Packet, March 10, 2011
By: Stephanie Vaccaro

As promised in late December, an additional lawsuit has been filed in relation to the construction project for Princeton High School.
In late February Princeton Regional Schools filed a lawsuit against Hillier Architecture for approximately $5 million, said Superintendent Judy Wilson.
Dana Ostrovsky, attorney for the school district, said $4.6 million of it is to recoup what was paid in delay damages to Ernest Bock & Sons, the construction company, that resulted from alleged architectural errors and omissions in the plans, plus approximately $300,000 to $400,000, which is the premium on change orders that were required during the project that were not competitively bid.
”There were issues right from the beginning of construction as contractors began to translate the drawings into work on the building, both new construction and renovation,” said Ms. Wilson.
”The Hillier firm was the architect of record for renovations and additions at all six school buildings,” said Ms. Wilson. “The claim pertains only to work on the Princeton High School project which took two years longer than originally scheduled and projected to complete.”
”I am certainly saddened by the turn of events that would cause Princeton Regional Schools to file suit against my former firm, and now the firm of RMJM,” said Bob Hillier. “The items upon which the suit is based are undoubtedly complex — however, because I have not been part of the management decisions for over four years, I am not in a position to comment on the specifics.
”It is important to note that during my time with the project — over eight years ago — my relationship with the Board of Education members was excellent, and any issues or concerns of either party were immediately communicated and addressed promptly at that time.”
At its final meeting of 2010, the Board of Education for Princeton Regional Schools decided to settle a claim filed against it by Ernest Bock & Sons, which had, subsequent to the completion of the project, filed a claim with the board seeking recovery of damages in an amount exceeding $10.8 million.
The claim included costs incurred as a result of project delays and labor inefficiencies caused by errors and omissions in the design of the project, according to Ms. Wilson in December.

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