School Construction

FORT LEE BOARD OF EDUCATION

During the 2014-15 school year, the Board of Education sought a referendum for, among other improvements to school facilities, upgrades to the Lewis F. Cole Middle School (“Project”).  The objective was to alleviate the overcrowding in the four elementary schools by adding an addition that would serve the 5th & 6th grades.  

The referendum was approved on December 9, 2014.  It was determined that the Project would be broken into two Phases. Phase 1 was predominantly site work necessary for the building.  The second phase was the actual construction of the building.

The Phase I work was put out to public bid on June 23, 2016.  The successful bidder was J. Fletcher Creamer & Son, Inc. who began work at the site on July 25, 2016.  Creamer achieved completion of the Phase I n November, 2016.

The Phase II was put out to bid in August of 2016.  The successful bidder was DOBCO with a successful bid of $21,650,000.00.   DOBCO was issued a notice to proceed on or about October 8, 2016.  However, DOBCO did not commence work until January of 2017.  

DOBCO has claimed that the Board has delayed the start of the Project citing what they perceived to be deficiencies in the plans for construction.  The Board strongly denies such a claim.  DOBCO has since filed for arbitration before the American Arbitration Association seeking damages as a result of the delay.  

The Board is committed to holding DOBCO to the contract they signed on or about October 8, 2016 which has a substantial completion date of August 16, 2018.

However, it seems unlikely that DOBCO will achieve substantial completion in August.  

Due to the impact of this issue on the families in the elementary and middle schools, the Board felt compelled to release this statement.  The Board will continue to defend the litigation filed by DOBCO and attempt to work collaboratively to achieve the earliest possible completion date.

The Board of Education is dedicated to the students and staff of our schools.  We understand the burden this delay will place on all involved.  The Board is looking to work with everyone so that we can complete this project for the benefit of our most important asset, the students of Fort Lee.

Buildings & Grounds Office 201-585-4612;6524