With consistent delays a defining characteristic of the Stone Valley Middle school modernization project, San Ramon Valley Unified School District officials seem to have finally decided enough is enough, opting to move forward with canceling its agreement with the project's general contractor.
Vila Construction Co., based in Richmond, was required to finish reconstruction on the Alamo campus by May of this year, but consistent delays have pushed the estimated time of completion out many months. A district staff report released last month estimated construction may not be completed until next summer, if not longer.
After twice threatening to terminate its contract with Vila, SRVUSD officials announced Friday that they have decided to begin taking steps toward terminating its contract, citing “ongoing concerns with meeting the (projects) schedule, a reduction of personnel dedicated to the project and quality control.” The school board confirmed the move Tuesday night.
“While there will be a temporary stop in construction, we expect that the Stone Valley Middle School project will resume progress and return to its schedule in a timely and efficient manner,” SRVUSD officials said in a statement. “Given a strong plan to move forward, we are optimistic and confident for a successful finish of the SVMS Classroom and Multi-Purpose Room project.”
The district's surety company, Liberty Mutual, will be responsible for the remaining payments surrounding the project, due to Vila’s failure to complete the project in the agreed upon amount of time, according to district officials.
At its Nov. 13 meeting, the school board granted Superintendent Rick Schmitt the authority to terminate the contract, should staff deem it necessary.
"I'm tired of hearing why it is everyone's fault but the contractors. I trust staff to make the appropriate decision about whether this contract needs to be terminated or not," Trustee Greg Marvel said at that meeting. "Absent meaningful change in behavior, I leave it to the superintendent to decide if this contract needs to be terminated."
At the same meeting, company vice president Michael Vila blamed the delays on extenuating circumstances, such as weather, and the fault of other contractors while further criticizing the district for a perceived lack of understanding of the problems causing delays.
The district plans to continue its agreement with its various subcontractors associated with the project.
An updated timeline has not yet been made available, but district staff promised to keep the community updated when the information is available.
The Stone Valley Middle School modernization project, most recently estimated at $37.5 million, is funded by the Measure D local schools facilities bond. It began in March 2016 with the demolition of a decades-old single-story building on school grounds. The demolished building was set to be replaced by new two-story 29 classroom school building, multipurpose room and central quad area for the 600 or so students to congregate.
While the project continues, students are being housed in temporary buildings on the southwest side of the nearly 10-acre school site, 22 portables are being used as classrooms and two have been functioning as the short-term library.