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MILFORD—The new floors at the Bowling Green Elementary School failed to get a passing grade at the Caroline County School Board meeting on Monday and will have to be re-done in 2014.
All parties involved agreed that it was unfortunate that polished concrete floors will not be available to students this school year. However, settling on a cheaper, less durable alternative was not acceptable, school officials said at the meeting on Monday.
The newly renovated and expanded school is scheduled to open its doors to 850 children on Sept. 3, and now it’s too late to rip up the floors and re-do them.
The general contractor, Loughridge & Co., has been making efforts to come up with a compromise that will serve the students of Bowling Green Elementary, as well as meet the expectations of the board, school officials have said.
Loughridge has offered to install a Mica-Flex floor system. At Monday’s meeting, David McConnell, the school division’s clerk of the works, described the floor as an “epoxy type system” that would go in place of the polished concrete floors.
The Mica-Flex floor system would be able to be completely installed prior to the start of the school year and would cost about $40,000 to install. However, the durability of the system is questionable, McConnell said.
McConnell said Loughridge has installed the Mica-Flex system in other buildings, some of which have lasted up to ten years, while others have failed within two years. Nonetheless, this was the offer made by Loughridge, accompanied by the request that the board make a decision.
Dr. Gregory Killough, the school superintendent, recommended that the board reject the Mica-Flex system. The alternative to accepting the Mica-Flex floor is to wait until the end of this school year to re-do the floors.
Mack Wright, a school board member, indicated he was adamant that the floors should wait, saying, “We had specified concrete floors with terrazzo glass embedded. That is what we expect, and I think that is what we should get.”
George Spaulding, a school board member, asked, “Does that mean for this school year, the students will be walking on bare floors?” The answer is yes.
Tinka Harris was displeased with this answer, and even mentioned she had seen in the school “a drain covered in concrete,” which she said was not safe. She was assured that the drains would be functional.
Loughridge, which submitted a low bid of $10,187,000 for the project in April 2012, is expanding and renovating Bowling Green Primary School, which has been renamed Bowling Green Elementary. The expansion and renovation will allow the consolidation of nearby Bowling Green Elementary School.
Loughridge resurfaced the floors in late July in hopes that the board would approve of the new work.
The board followed Killough’s suggestion, and rejected the Mica-Flex floor system, opting instead to wait until the summer of 2014 to begin re-construction of the floors. The topic of payment to Loughridge was the next touchy subject.
The board has withheld several payments in the collective amount of $607,000 to the company, due to unsatisfactory work. The current rate of retainage for payment sits at 8 percent, which a significant increase from the original 5 percent.
While the board has the right to increase the retainage to 10 percent, Killough and McConnell suggested the board keep the current rate, and move forward with the payments to Loughridge, to “keep the project moving forward.”
The board voted 5 to 1, with Harris voting against the motion, to move forward with the payment of $149,820.30 to Loughridge Construction. The remaining balance to be paid is $1,410,667.93. All parties involved agree that it is unfortunate that the polished concrete floors will not be available to students this school year. However, settling on a cheaper, less durable alternative is not acceptable.