The Lansing Board of Education accepted a legal settlement from pool contractors who were alleged to have made faulty repairs that kept the Lansing High School swimming pool closed for about a year and a half. The case was brokered, not brought to trial, with former Monroe County Supreme Court Justice Thomas Stander mediating the case. The district filed the lawsuit in 2019 seeking damages, including the $ 180,000 the district spent repairing the botched work and $ 138,000 for other damages. The lawsuit was settled in a Zoom meeting for $ 85,000, with the cost shared between the contractor and four subcontractors.
The pool repairs were part of the School District’s “Building Core” capital project in 2013. The pool was closed to replace the pool shell, but new problems emerged shortly after the repairs were completed. School staff identified tile defects in the pool envelope in January 2016. School administrator Mary June King (now retired) reported to the Education Committee in November 2017 that a forensic expert team was evaluating the problem and would recommend a solution.
“I’m sure our attorneys will have a lot of insight for us, and forensic analysis will be critical to our ability to address this from a financial perspective,” she told the school board.
They found that the pool bowl tiles were peeling off. Experts cited a number of reasons why the tiles failed. The main reason was that no layers of marcite had been removed from the old pool shell prior to installing the new tile shell. After the tiles were laid, the markit shrunk beneath them, damaging the adhesive that held the tiles in place. The investigation also found that the pool deteriorated more than was initially determined. Headmaster Chris Pettograsso stated in 2017 after the pool reopened after the second round of repairs.
“We found that when the previous tile was originally removed, not all of the layers were preserved so they wouldn’t stick,” she said. “We did more research and found that some of our pipes were leaking. At that moment we realized that this was bigger than what we initially thought. If you do things like that, everything will be taken apart and you will continue investigating We found out that the pipes needed to be fixed and part of the joint – they needed to be taken out and completely replaced, so we decided to do a complete repair this time. We had to take out much of the pool deck so that it would also be replaced and re-tiled had to. “
The DIstrict accepted the lowest bid of $ 180,000 in 2017 from a new contractor who replaced the damaged tile with a Marcite pool bowl.
In addition to the costs incurred by the forensic investigation and later the costs of running the project again, it prevented classes, sports teams and public pool users from using the pool, creating new costs to cover the use of other pools in proximity meant transportation for swimmers. In 2017, the Triad Foundation made a gift of US $ 15,000 to the school district, part of which was paid for support, transportation, and alternative pools.
The lawsuit was originally brought against the contractor, who then brought the subcontractors into the lawsuit. The various parties originally blamed each other for the tile failure, but after nearly seven hours of negotiation, the five agreed to contribute to a $ 85,000 settlement, with the contractor contributing $ 25,000 and each subcontractor contributing $ 15,000.
A letter from school attorneys to the school authorities explaining the reasons for the lawsuit and its mediation was released for the school board meeting on Monday. The school attorneys recommended that the school board accept the deal on the grounds that litigation in court is very costly and the results are uncertain, although the district attorneys believed they would prevail if the case went to court. The Lansing Board of Education unanimously and without comment on Monday voted to approve the settlement.