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Construction dispute may cost Ohio School Facilities Commission $1.8 million

Court referee finds that the Ohio School Facilities Commission wrongfully dragged out student housing project at state schools for the deaf and blind.

The Ohio School Facilities Commission (OSFC) may owe $1.8 million to a contractor in a dispute over the construction of 12 dormitories in Columbus at the Ohio State School for the Blind and Ohio School for the Deaf.

The Columbus Dispatch reports that, following a three-week trial, a Court of Claims referee has ruled in favor of TransAmerica Building Co. and against the OSFC.

The referee ruled in a 70-page decision that TransAmerica was owed the money because the state agency dragged out what should have been a four-year, $44 million construction project to five to six years because of “politics and budgeting problems."

A Court of Claims judge will hear objections to the referee’s findings and then decide whether to accept, reject or modify the award.

According to court documents, the construction project consisted of six dormitories at the school for the deaf and six at the school for the blind.

"At the end of the day, it is clear that OSFC tried to build a project that [the schools] could not afford within the funding provided...and it forced its contractors to achieve this task...without approved or adequate construction documents," Referee Samuel Wampler wrote.

Wampler found that the project had a “poorly developed, unrealistic and manipulated schedule” and that the state responded slowly or inadequately to TransAmerica’s requests for clarifications.

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