Two contractors will pay $900,000 to settle part of a lawsuit alleging they botched installation of the roof at Dayton’s Wogaman School, requiring a $3 million-plus replacement when the school was only 7 years old.
Wogaman was built during Dayton’s school construction project last decade, with a mix of local and state funding. The school opened in October 2006 after Kerkan Roofing, Inc. of Cincinnati installed the roof system for Thomas & Marker Construction, Inc. of Columbus — the general trades prime contractor on the job.
But by 2013, Dayton Public Schools was seeking contractors to fix roofing and “building envelope” problems at the site, and they ended up completely tearing off the shingle roof and replacing it with the metallic-style roof that’s on the school today.
The Ohio Facilities Construction Commission on Thursday approved the settlement reached among multiple parties, calling for Thomas & Marker to pay $392,000, and for Kerkan Roofing to pay $508,000, with no party admitting fault.
Just as the construction cost was split between DPS and the state, the same is true of the settlement. DPS attorney Jyllian Bradshaw said the school district will receive 39 percent (approximately $351,000 after certain court costs), and the rest will go to the state.
“This is just a settlement of one portion of the claim, against Thomas & Marker and Kerkan. Other parts of the lawsuit are still going forward,” Bradshaw said. “From a legal standpoint, we are always advocating for the best interests of our students and trying to protect our taxpayers and taxpayer dollars.”
The school board and OFCC sued multiple contractors almost two years ago over construction issues at Wogaman, 920 McArthur Ave. at Germantown Street, and Louise Troy School, 1630 Miami Chapel Road, off Danner Avenue.
The 2015 lawsuit identified 12 problems with the Wogaman roof, ranging from wrongly installed flashing, to code violations and incorrect materials, to improperly installed or totally missing vapor membranes.
Vapor membrane problems can lead to water infiltration and mold concerns, as Greeneview schools suffered in 2014. John Carr, retired chief of construction for DPS, said the problems at Wogaman were first found in the administrative area, then in the academic wings. He said the roof replacement cost more than $3 million.
“We didn’t have any classrooms displaced (but) we were more concerned with the long-term effect and what could happen,” Carr said. “We needed to take care of it before we had mold.”
Teachers union President David Romick said he doesn’t believe the problem had a dramatic impact on students and teachers, as the district took action to fix it.
The settlement agreement calls for payment within 30 days after DPS and OFCC approve it. Bradshaw said OFCC was the last party to execute the agreement. Dayton’s school board unanimously approved the settlement last week with no comment. Attorneys for Thomas & Marker and Kerkan did not return calls seeking comment Thursday.
According to a case docket posted in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court on Wednesday, the remaining lawsuit has a trial set for Oct. 16, with several other steps before then. Remaining as defendants are DNK Architects, Pezzo Construction, International Fidelity Insurance, Palace Construction and Westfield Insurance Company.
The original lawsuit claimed the design documents prepared by DNK Architects for the Wogaman and Louise Troy projects contained a combined 2,314 “design errors and omissions” resulting in 319 change orders.
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