The trial to determine whether the original architect of the Brookfield school complex and a consultant breached their contracts and did substandard work has been postponed until March.
The trial had been scheduled for September, but Trumbull County Common Pleas Court Judge Andrew Logan was faced with numerous motions, including requests from Balog Steins Hendricks and Manchester Architects and Timmerman Geotechnical Group Inc. to rule on the case based on the existing documentation that had been filed with the court, which would head off a trial.
Balog Steins and Timmerman also are seeking to prevent key plaintiff witnesses from testifying, and attorneys for the district and Ohio Facilities Construction Commission notified the court that some depositions are not scheduled until October and November.
The school district said it noticed cracking in the floor and walls of Brookfield Middle School shortly after the school opened in 2011. A 2013 attempted fix failed, school officials said.
Officials said the problems are caused by shale that is shifting under the middle school.
The district and the OFCC, the district’s partner in the building of the school, have hired a contractor that has started exterior work to improve drainage. School Supt. Toby Gibson told the school board Sept. 20 that Schirmer Construction of North Olmstead has dug test pits so workers could learn whether drawings of the existing drainage system are accurate, and will begin installing new drainage pipe and catch basins.
The company also will build a six-foot-wide concrete apron around the exterior of the middle school to further drain water away from the building and the shale, Gibson said.
The plan is for workers to enter the school after school lets out in June to perform interior repair work, school officials said.
The lawsuit seeks to compensate the district and the state for the cost of the estimated $2.3 million repair project. Gibson said there has been hesitancy of vendors to guarantee prices on materials that will be needed in the spring, which has hampered the completion of the spring work schedule.
“The project manager knows that, at some point, he’s just gotta finish it,” Gibson said.
It is estimated the trial would take two weeks, according to a court order setting a new trial date.