Troubled school construction project moves forward

Here, from  An excerpt:

LAME DEER, Mont. –– If all goes as planned under new approach to a Lame Deer Elementary School expansion project funded by Impact Aid, students at Northern Cheyenne will start next school year in new classrooms, dine in a new cafeteria and their parents will be assured that their children have a modern and safe school. And, in early 2016, more classrooms, administrative offices and a commons area will be completed.

Stalled for nearly a year due to conflicts between the School, prime contractor, and architect, a $15 million Lame Deer Elementary School expansion project is once again moving along.

“There is a little bad news,” said Bill Parker, Superintendent, “but also a lot of good news – the project is well underway again and we are making good progress.”

Lame Deer Public Schools has received about ten million in Federal Impact Aid funds to construct a significant addition to the Elementary School to address overcrowding and update an aging facility. Started in 2013, the project was organized into two phases with the first awarded to DPS Construction, Boyd, Montana and Spectrum Architects, Billings. Scheduled for completion in January 2014 and underway for approximately a year that job included demolition of a portion of the existing school; construction of new classrooms, restrooms, cafeteria and geothermal water wells. Phase 11 will provides additional classrooms, a commons area and administrative offices.

Disputes between the School and the architect and contractor developed. The school was concerned about unmet construction deadlines, quality of construction and project expenditures while contractors wanted more money. As reported in earlier stories, the School Board terminated contracts with both Spectrum Architects and DPS in the fall of 2013. Then, clean-up of major demolition was not completed. However, Parker pointed out that the local Bureau of Indian Affairs completed that work, saving the school $80,000.

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