In September, a crew removed pipes once connected to a fuel oil tank left underground at Hollywood School. Now the village of Brookfield and the MWRD want to inspect the site, since they didn’t OK the work before it was done. | Provided

The problem-plagued construction project at Hollywood School in Brookfield has hit another delay. Supply chain issues have delayed completion of a new multipurpose room, and now the village of Brookfield and the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District have insisted on taking a look at an area where pipes from an old underground oil storage tank were removed this summer. As a result, the ground will have to be opened up once again.

“They are being contentious on multiple issues,” said Ramesh Nair, the owner’s representative for Riverside Elementary District 96, who is overseeing the project.

A new multipurpose room is being added on to the back of Hollywood School and a new playground is being built.

“If all goes well, we’ll get an occupancy permit for the multipurpose room by the end of October,” Nair told the school board at its Oct. 6 committee of the whole meeting. “It’s been a challenge to say the least.”

The village’s consultant did not look at the project until recently although District 96 received approval from the Illinois Environmental Protection agency. The village uses an outside consultant for such issues.

Nair said District 96 was not blameless in erecting a new hurdle, because it was rushing to try to get the project done this summer.

“There is some fault that we had because we did work ahead of permits,” Nair said.

Nair said that if the completion of the project is delayed much more, it could prove impossible to repave the Hollywood School parking lot until spring because asphalt plants will soon close down upon the onset of cold weather.

“We do need the village to be a bit more helpful running into winter,” Nair said.

The new playground at Hollywood School has also been delayed. Although the playground equipment finally shipped, the hardware to put it together did not, although the hardware was expected to ship on Oct. 8.

“Nothing in Hollywood is easy,” said school board member David Barsotti, a resident of the Hollywood neighborhood.

Nair said the school district’s contractor, Oakbrook Terrace-based Apex Construction Group, has not been great. Nair said top-tier companies will typically not bid for a small project like adding on a room to a school. 

While Apex came in with a good bid, under the anticipated budget, Nair said he wished he had done a more thorough review of the company’s history and vetted its subcontractors. By law, school districts must choose the lowest responsible bidder.

“We’re still within budget but from a scheduling standpoint we’re really behind,” Nair said.

Nair pointed to particular problems with the concrete subcontractor, saying that some work had to be done three times to get it right.

He also mentioned the work force for the project.

“These guys are mostly not union guys; they are just paying the prevailing wages,” Nair said.

Nair said one contractor recently accidently cut a small gas line because they did not call JULIE, the Joint Utility Locating Information for Excavators, but there was no major damage.

Nair said he is confident the multipurpose room will be available to use soon, but is worried about not being able to repave the parking lot before asphalt plants shut down.

“Now we’re running into a time challenge,” Nair said.