Just two years after the completion of a nearly $63 renovation and addition to Riverside-Brookfield High School, a few nagging problems are cropping up and the school is not ruling out going to court to get a problem with the new boilers fixed.
The boilers are not working properly and the fan in ceiling of the swimming pool is broken.
The boilers, which were installed in the first phase of the renovation, are not synchronizing properly, Facilities Manager Dennis Kosirog and Superintendent Kevin Skinkis told the District 208 school board last month.
“As they turn on, once they reach their heat level and shut off, they are having trouble turning back on,” Skinkis said. “They have to be manually restarted. That has not worked correctly since it was installed.”
The cost of repairing the boilers is estimated to be about $13,000 to $15,000.
School officials say that the subcontractor, Mechanical Inc., installed the boilers improperly.
“Our contention is that the installers did not follow manufacturer’s recommendations, and that’s our concern,” Kosirog said.
But Mechanical Inc. apparently contends that the problem is not their fault, and in any case the school waited too long to seek redress.
“We’re getting some resistance because of the time lapse,” Skinkis said.
Skinkis has referred to matter to the school’s attorney to try and work out a settlement. If that doesn’t work, Skinkis said that the school will fix the problem itself and then go to court and seek to be reimbursed by Mechanical Inc. He says he is giving the company until the end of October to resolve the problem.
“I’ve already got [school attorney] Todd [Faulkner] in the loop on this,” Skinkis told the school board last month. “We might make the repair and then hope to get it reimbursed.”
Skinkis noted that winter is coming, and he wants the problem fixed soon.
“We need to get this resolved by the end of November,” Skinkis said.
District 208 school board President Matt Sinde wants the problem fixed soon.
“I think we need to make a decision before it gets cold,” Sinde said.
In addition, the ceiling fan in the swimming pool is broken, resulting in a loss of ventilation and stagnant air full of chlorine around the pool.
During a school board meeting the distinct odor of chlorine could be smelled in the hallway by the Alumni Lounge, a fair distance from the swimming pool.
The fan is bolted to the ceiling and, apparently, vibration caused something to break off and cease working. There was a stress malfunction and there are cracks in the support that holds the fan, Skinkis said.
Although the fan is only about 2 years old, it is not covered by warranty, which surprised and upset some school board members.
“It’s just aggravating to me,” said school board member Tim Walsh. “It should have worked longer than that. I don’t know why it cracked.”
The cost of replacing the fan is between $2,000 and $3,000. Instead of getting expensive lawyers involved, Skinkis is just going to replace the fan and have District 208 pay for it. He said on Oct. 3 that he hoped to have a new fan installed by the end of the month.
Walsh suggested taking the fan’s manufacturer and installer to small claims court.
“We could file a small claim and sue them all,” Walsh said.
During the summer, the school also experienced some flooding in the new fieldhouse.
“We suspect that there was a gap between the walls and the foundation or there was a gasket between the concrete and the wall that maybe was compromised,” Kosirog said.
The ground had not totally settled since the construction project, and water that was trapped in air pockets got into the fieldhouse Kosirog said.
Now that the ground has settled, a sealant has been applied and the problem has been solved, Kosirog said.
“[Permaseal] came in and put a membrane over that area and sealed it below surface. And even with those heavy rains we had, we had virtually no water backup there,” Kosirog said.
Some water had also dripped in through the roof of the fieldhouse, but that problem has been rectified, Kosirog told the school board last month.
Some school board members were frustrated that problems were cropping up so soon after the renovation and addition was completed.
“We have a brand new building, and we’re having these problems,” said board member John Keen. “I think it’s frustrating to hear that.”
Chris Robling, who served on the Citizens Advisory Council that consulted with the school board before the renovation project started, said he still supported an audit of the project.
On Oct. 3 he repeated that call.
“Especially in view of the school’s likely desire to seek another referendum, RB, without incurring unnecessary expense, owes the district no less for our $60 million,” said Robling.