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Change to West project at issue

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By Don Pace

Gary Gold, a West Las Vegas school board member, is calling for the hiring of a construction manager.

His suggestion came last week while board members questioned Superintendent Jim Abreu about a change order for a drainage project at the high school.

“We really need to look at (hiring) a construction manager to look at all these things,” said Gold, the board’s vice president. “We board members and yourself (Abreu) are busy and don’t have time to monitor everything that’s going on concerning construction expenditures, and there are a lot of things I’m seeing after the fact that are not up to par.”

Gold said he knew the district was doing the best it could, but it would continue to lose money without a construction manager.

“I don’t think we’re spending our money wisely,” Gold said.

Abreu said when he has questions about a project, he has to call the architect.

“They are in Santa Fe or Albuquerque, and they’re really good on the phone, but they are not right here to go to the site immediately to check on something.”

Board member Christine Ludi said, “That’s why we are questioning this — relocating an underground utility that should have already been installed. This was supposed to have been done back in July, and it’s already October.”

Board president Kenny Lujan asked if the new parking lot around Gillie Lopez Gym would have to be torn out to accommodate the drainage line, but was told it would not as the work to be done is in a different place.

Lujan said construction plans should be looked at carefully, so things like the drainage work isn’t an afterthought.

“We’re coming back and having to do things that should have been done prior to the project starting. Contractors also need to make sure everything is covered before they start construction. Digging underground after the project is complete is like the tail wagging the dog,” he said.

“Coming off what we’ve learned from the Valley project, we need a construction manager for everything,” Gold said.

The Valley School project was plagued with change orders and delays.

The board voted unanimously to approve the change order in the latest case.