HERMITAGE School must pay bill for changes in project

An architectural firm has declined to pay the additional renovation costs.
HERMITAGE, Pa. --The Hermitage School Board will pay a $1,782 change order on the high school general construction contract, but board members said the cost should be picked up by the architect.
The change order for Hudson Construction Co. Inc., of Hermitage, involves the painting of four rooms, items that should have been in the original bid specifications for the project, said school director Sara Jazwinski.
She blamed the project architect, HHSDR of Sharon, for the omission, and said the architect should have picked up the additional cost to have it done. HHSDR has refused, she added.
The architectural firm is making $1.2 million on the $23 million renovation/expansion project, she said.
Voting on the issue: The board voted Monday to pay the bill, but other board members supported Jazwinski's position.
"All the bases weren't covered there," said school director Victor Ellenberger. "How many other mistakes are there going to be?"
The board isn't sure it should have this expense at all, said Duane Piccirilli, president.
The board has asked the superintendent to arrange a meeting with HHSDR representatives next month to discuss the issue, he said.
In the interest of time and preventing a delay in completing the project, the board is being forced to pay the bill now, he said.
School's responsibility: No one from HHSDR attended the meeting, but company president Charles Rogers, contacted later at home, confirmed that his company has declined to pick up the cost.
The additional painting wasn't in the project specifications. Now that everyone has agreed it needs to be done, the contractor must be paid for the work, Rogers said.
It's not the architect's cost. It's value added to the project, and that benefits the school district, he said.
The actual cost of the work is $7,820, but Superintendent Karen Ionta said some compromises were made elsewhere (using cement block instead of brick on a wall in the auditorium and eliminating one finish coat of paint in another room) to cut that to $1,782.
This wasn't the only change order on Hudson's $11,245,294 contract.
The board has approved a combination of cost increases and decreases so far that resulted in a net increase of $176,032, raising the contract total to slightly more than $11.4 million.