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Completion of Lincoln Middle School Track Project Delayed as Cost Increases


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By Niki Cervantes
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February 21, 2018 -- Delayed by some surprise “challenges,” the track and field construction project for Santa Monica’s Lincoln Middle School is now scheduled for completion in the spring, and at a higher cost.

The project was scheduled to be completed last month at a cost of $4,092,000, under the contract awarded by the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District’s school board in June of 2017 to Angeles Contractor, Inc.

At its February 15 meeting, the board approved another $97,741 for the job, which was extended by a number of problems, said Schools Superintendent Ben Drati.

Lincoln Middle School Field Construction
Lincoln Middle School Field Construction (Courtesy SMMUSD)

“Unfortunately, multiple setbacks have pushed the expected completion date to April 2018,” Drati said. “We are working diligently to get this much needed outdoor space finished and back in use by students and community members as soon as possible.”

The project includes the reconstruction of the track to a synthetic track, upgraded restroom facilities and the return of field lights.

Drati said the contractor “struggled to adequately mobilize during the summer of 2017 and did not complete the highly impactful grading work that the District had planned to accomplish before the start of the 2017-2018 school year.

“The contractor continued to understaff the project and fell off pace even further during the fall semester of 2017,” he said in a letter to the public explaining why the project missed its initial deadline.

There were also “several unforeseen challenges,” Drati said.

“A previously unmapped utility was found to conflict with retaining walls proposed around the perimeter of the track,” he said.

“The design team worked to resolve this conflict, but the new design required permitting review and approval by the Division of the State Architect (DSA),” his letter said.

“The construction management team worked with the contractor to re-sequence the work and mitigate the overall schedule impact to the project.”

But the contractor also made a “significant error in the layout of the project,” the superintendent said.

Two different survey firms were contracted to lay out different phases.

But an error resulted in a “vertical and horizontal offset which the contractor pointed out to the district after the construction of the track perimeter,” Drati said.

The district worked closely with the architect to resolve the issue, he said.

“The solution was a combination of reconstructing portions of the newly installed work and modifications to the surrounding design. The goal of this approach was to maintain high standards for the track and field while minimizing the overall time impact to construction.

“The contractor has accepted responsibility for this error," Drati said. "However, it created the single largest delay to the project.”

The design issues were documented and resolved in December, and the contractor resolved subsequent subcontractor and reconstruction issues in January, the superintendent said.

Drati said the “contractor picked up momentum in late January, and we are expecting this to continue through the end of the project.”

“Independent estimates for the work were prepared as a basis for negotiating the amounts and ensure that the amounts being charged by the contractor were justified, fair, and reasonable,” he told the Board of Education.

The district’s goal now is to have the field prep completed for field turf in early March and to complete the track and field in late April, Drati said.

Next steps will include placing additional fill material, installing the drainage system below the field and base rock over the drainage system and paving the asphalt on the track loop.

Installation of the final track and field surfaces also starts soon, Drati said.

A joint-use agreement between the district and the City of Santa Monica for the school’s recreational facilities, in effect since 2003, will remain in place, Drati said.

The project is being funded by Measure ES, a $385 million bond approved by voters in 2012 for upgrades at the district’s schools.


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