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Construction Update June 10th, 2021

Dear Members of the Blind Brook community,

The Blind Brook Board of Education meeting on Tuesday featured a presentation on the current status and future plans for the Capital Project. (The video of the June 8 meeting discussion can be found at this link and embedded above, and the PowerPoint from the presentation is also attached here.)

The District broke ground to embark on this project in June 2019, and, as the project progressively fell behind schedule in 2020, the Board took aggressive steps during this school year to get the project back on track. Critical steps taken in the past year included:

  • Hiring a forensic architect in July 2020 to ascertain the causes and implications of the project delays
  • Engaging a new law firm with a specialty in construction law in November 2020 to provide legal guidance and vigorously represent the District’s interests
  • Terminating the District’s original Construction Manager, Savin Engineers PLC, and replacing it with a new Construction Manager, School Construction Consultants (SCC) in December 2020. SCC assumed the important role of adhering to the project timeline.

Bringing new partners on in the middle of a major capital construction project was a bold move for all parties involved. However, those actions were determined to be necessary and are expected to be fruitful. While the project was only 19% complete in December 2020, it is now 60% complete only 6 months later.

The District’s plan is to continue on this trajectory for the duration of the project. Substantial completion of the project at the BMPRSS campus prioritizes the instructional classroom spaces in both the renovated section of the existing building and the new construction.  Every effort is being made to deliver these classrooms by the start of the upcoming school year.  The non-instructional areas, such as the cafetorium, will unfortunately require additional time.  All available resources will be dedicated to finishing the non-instructional spaces once the classrooms are delivered.  The current anticipated date of completion for the entire project is March 2022.

The initial budget for project included a contingency. With the delays and change orders, the Board and the Superintendent believe, in the interest of transparency, it is important to inform the community that the budgeted contingency will be exhausted before the completion of the project. The District will engage its Audit Committee in the ongoing review of the Capital Project Budget.  The Board will take steps to review and determine if additional funding is needed for the duration of the project.

Our primary commitment is to bring the project construction to completion. However, it is also essential that the District ultimately hold all actors accountable for errors, omissions, delays, and additional costs. We have maintained scrupulous records of every detail in the event of future litigation.  Blind Brook has not waived any claims, and we continue to work aggressively with our attorneys to advise of potential options.  At this time, it remains our objective to get the project done as expeditiously as possible. A more detailed project completion timeline is provided below in the email.

The Board of Education and Superintendent would like to thank each and every administrator, teacher, student, parent, and community member for their on-going patience and support of the Capital Project. The disruptions that we have all endured over the past year are an investment in the future of our District. We will ultimately prevail and have a shared pride in the new educational spaces we are creating to deliver world-class educational opportunities to our students.

Respectfully,

Ashley Welde, Blind Brook Board of Education President
Patrick Brimstein Ed.D., Superintendent of Schools

 

Detailed timeline:

What Can We Expect Next?

Spring 2021

  • Relocate Elementary Students
  • Jumpstart 1955 Renovation
  • Prioritize Completion of New Classroom Construction

Summer 2021

  • Engage Audit Committee
    • Assess total costs of change orders
    • Evaluate project budget, reconciling costs to available funds
    • Present financial assessment and recommendations to Board of Education
  • Complete Renovation and New Classroom Spaces
  • Furnish New Instructional Spaces
  • Prepare for Positive School Reopening

Fall 2021

  • Open New School Year in New Classrooms
  • Focus Labor and Capital on Non-Instructional Spaces
    • Cafetorium
    • Courtyard
    • Office areas

Winter/Spring 2022

  • Bring Project to Substantial Completion