Delays in construction projects cost Peralta
Eric Lamoureux, executive director of the Department of General Services, which oversees the Division of State Architect (DSA), has taken issue with a story published in the Oct. 25 issue of the Laney Tower, "Trustee comes down hard on state agency."
Lamoureux objected to the statement made by Trustee Bill Withrow that the DSA "is costing the district $4.275 million in change orders for construction improvements to the 860 Atlantic Ave. project in Alameda."
According to Lamoureux, and confirmed by Vice Chancellor of General Services Dr. Sadiq Ikharo, the total cost of the construction phase of the project is $4,425,439, and the total cost of six change orders was $425,574, including $148,360.15 in change orders directly from the DSA. The DSA also charged the district $30,000 in fees.
Lamoureux indicated that the DSA has little to do with construction costs, saying, "The cost, the design, and the project scheduling are largely based on the discretion of the project team and the school district."
According to Ikharo, the cost of the construction is associated with modernization projects to accommodate the science departments at the College of Alameda, and the genomics program at Merritt College.
Some of these projects included knocking down walls, installing new laminated structural beams, new roof sheathing and insulation, and relocating electrical panels to meet building codes.
"In order for the building to meet academic requirements in the education master plan," Ikharo said, "it needed structural modification, ADA, autoclaves, and other requirements including furniture, fixtures, and equipment to be operational."
However, while Withrow is concerned about the cost of the building, saying, "When you take a prime building with a market value of $7.7 million, it doesn't make sense to put $4.26 million into it," he is also concerned with the time it has taken for the building to become operational.
"It's been four years since we acquired the building, and we haven't been able to use it," Withrow said. "They're beautiful labs, and at the college level, we're short of labs."
According to Lamoureux, "The project was first submitted to DSA's regional office in Oakland for review on November 23, 2009. The DSA plan review was completed and sent back to the school district's project architect on March 11, 2010, with corrections that needed to be made to the designs. "The project architect then came back to DSA with revised plans on April 28, 2010, and the project was approved by DSA the same day," said Lamoureux. "The district did not begin construction until September 15, 2010," and it is only now that building is nearing completion.
However, Ikharo points out that the change orders from the DSA did push back the completion date of the project. "The project could not be completed in the time in which it was supposed to because of the change orders," he said. "At the time the changes were made, there were long lead times to bring in the change order, and that delayed the project."
The Peralta Board of Trustees ratified the sixth change order to the 860 Atlantic Ave. project at its Oct. 23, 2012, meeting at a cost of $35,531.30.
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