Almanac

Schools - July 31, 2013

More problems at Hillview playing field

by Renee Batti

Despite hopes that the project would be completed before the Aug. 22 start of school, work to repair the new Hillview Middle School playing field will continue at least through August, with crews upping their efforts from six to seven days a week, according to a school district official.

Ahmad Sheikholeslami, facilities director for the Menlo Park City School District, said last week that in addition to the problems originally found that necessitated a complete reconstruction of the months-old field, another construction flaw was discovered after repair work began in early July.

In addition, the project was further delayed because the general contractor replaced the subcontractor who installed the original field, he said.

Soon after the field was opened in March, the district discovered "irregularities" affecting its levelness. An analysis pinpointed improper drainage detail installation, and the use of incorrect base soil underneath the synthetic field, Mr. Sheikholeslami said.

The most recently discovered problem, he said last week, is the result of improper grading and leveling of the field's subbase.

Superintendent Maurice Ghysels said earlier this month that the contractor, Richmond-based Overaa Construction, will be responsible for the repair costs.

But that doesn't mean the district might not be out of pocket to some degree because of the work deficiencies. Although the district is currently focusing on getting the job done, Mr. Sheikholeslami said, after the work is completed he will look at possible reimbursement for the cost of the district's extensive analysis of the field's problems and other ancillary costs associated with the project.

"We're tracking all costs," he said.

The school board in June approved an additional $50,000 payment to the firm overseeing the project, Concord-based RGM & Associates, which will continue its oversight. When asked why the firm should be paid additional money when the original work it oversaw was found to be seriously flawed, Mr. Sheikholeslami said that, with projects of this nature, "you can't always catch every little thing" as the work progresses.

Meanwhile, the district has notified the city of Menlo Park, which shares the field during non-school hours, about the field's delayed completion. The city will have to adjust its after-school programs to compensate for Hillview field's unavailability for the first few weeks of school, Mr. Sheikholeslami said.

Last Friday, Mr. Sheikholeslami sent an announcement to neighbors of the Menlo Park school, saying that crews will be adding Sundays to their work schedule, with the goal of completing the project by Sept. 6.

Saturday and Sunday work hours are limited to 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., he said. Weekday work hours are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Comments

Posted by Judith Eisner, a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on Aug 13, 2013 at 4:59 pm

We drove past Hillview school at 2:20 pm today and there was no work being done on the field. Many parked construction vehicles, no workers. How do they eect to ever finish if they don't work on Tuesday afternoon?


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