Dayton’s school board voted 4-2 Tuesday in favor of terminating its contract with the construction management firm Skanska, which has been working with the school district on the revitalization of Welcome Stadium.
David Lawrence, the district’s business manager, said Skanska was hired to make sure that all the construction work was done properly in the beginning of the project. But he said there are internal DPS staff who can now oversee the project, so Skanska’s services are no longer needed.
“We have internal individuals who are capable of shepherding this project the rest of the way,” Lawrence said. “Skanska has got us off to a good start.”
Lawrence said staff members plan to be at the site for at least two hours each workday, and said he thought with several board members working so closely on the project there was not an additional need for an outside agency.
Shook Construction, the other firm hired to work on the project, will continue to renovate the stadium. The contracts the school board approved a year ago were $11 million for Shook, and $496,000 for Skanska.
Credit: JIM NOELKER
Credit: JIM NOELKER
DPS officials said at the beginning of the Welcome Stadium project that hiring an outside overseer was expected to be a cost-saving measure, because it would give closer oversight over the project than the district could do itself.
In February 2022, board members expressed concerns about project costs after renovation of the current Dayton Public Schools administrative building downtown ended up with significant cost overruns.
The two board members who voted against terminating the contract, Jocelyn Rhynard and Gabriella Pickett, said they remembered the downtown building project and wanted to avoid being in a similar situation.
“I just have so many concerns about being responsible for this project and the possibility of unexpected things happening,” Rhynard said.
A year ago, the school board approved contracts of more than $11 million for renovation of the stadium. Since then the board has approved increased funding to cover completion of the project, taking costs to $27 million.
However, given proposed additions to the project — a maintenance building and a second athletic field — the entire stadium is now expected to cost more than $40 million, and district officials have said they plan to fundraise for the second athletic field.
DPS board member Dion Sampson, who voted for the contract termination, asked superintendent Elizabeth Lolli and Lawrence to explain the project and costs to the community later.
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