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Mora project delayed again, has been subject of disputes

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By David Giuliani

The project to build a multi-purpose field at Mora High School has been delayed once again.

The Mora school board has terminated the contract with Bosque Farms-based Lone Mountain Contracting Inc. out of frustration over the lack of progress and quality and the inability to agree on what should happen next, said Dora Romero, the district’s superintendent.

This is the second time the project has experienced a major delay.

In May and June, the project was halted because it was determined that the area was waterlogged. Officials later decided that a raised surface would solve the problem.

Romero said the district is aggressively consulting with various individuals and agencies to identify the next steps required to verify the integrity of the initial design. The board has hired John Shomaker and Associates Inc., a hydrological consulting firm in Albuquerque, to determine whether the initial design was sound.

The district states that it received a closeout letter with Lone Mountain, containing a final charge of $30,230, which Mora officials maintain is contrary to the previous agreement. The district also states that it has received verification that some material used in the project was substandard.

“Due to these concerns, the board has directed its attorney to initiate the dispute resolution procedures in the architect’s and general contractor's contracts. The first step is to request a formal resolution to attempt to resolve all outstanding issues,” Romero said in a statement. “The district is eager to move forward with this project.”

Tom Blaine of Lone Mountain hasn’t returned calls for comment, and architect Antonio Ortega has referred questions to Romero.

In a Jan. 16 e-mail to Mora district officials, Ortega said he expected the district to take a “heavy hit” for the termination of the contract, and “we may not be able to negotiate the cost down.” He stated that because Lone Mountain’s contract was terminated, it could “head home with most of their overhead and profit without doing any of the work.”

In the e-mail, he suggested that the board discuss the matter in closed session because of the threat that it may want to pursue legal against Lone Mountain.