Work on Okeechobee High School roof ‘problematic’

Okeechobee County School District Director of Operations Brian Barret gave the Okeechobee County School Board an update on the district’s facilities at the board’s monthly meeting on April 9.


Of all the schools in the district, Okeechobee High School was described as needing the most improvements. And currently a project to repair the school’s roof being performed by Property Renovation and Construction has not gone smoothly.


“Roofing has been problematic at OHS,” read the first slide of the presentation to the school board. “The low-bid roofer has not lived up to their references. A two-month job has now stretched into seven months due to poor workmanship and not following the contracted roof specifications.”
“We have put their bonding agency on notice and attorneys are involved,” the slide continued. “We are providing the roofer the opportunity to get things corrected before we act on the bond.”
Central Elementary is scheduled to have a roof replacement in 2019-20. The same roofer performing the OHS roof replacement, Property Renovation and Construction, currently has the contract for the Central Elementary project.


Mr. Barret said he couldn’t comment on the status of the contract for the Central roof due to attorneys having to get involved.

Okeechobee High School

One step the school district is taking to avoid another situation similar to what is happening with the OHS roof project is to hire a trio of construction management contractors to help with future projects.
“It’s going to be important to have those services because some things we’re going to do will require multiple trades,” said Mr. Barret of the construction management services. “There are things that are way beyond my level of knowledge. Instead of me trying to guess, trying to go with low bids, and thinking I have a qualified contractor like we’re dealing with at OHS right now, I’m going to have some construction management contractors that have greater reach than I do to get the quality contractors we need to get these projects completed.”


Later in the April 9 meeting, school board members approved master agreements for construction management services with CORE Construction, Remnant Construction and Wharton Smith, Inc.


Mr. Barret reported that many metal doors and door casings are rusted at school district buildings in Okeechobee. He explained that he is currently identifying those doors throughout the district, creating a plan for replacement and will perform those replacements over the summer. The school district is also conducting a district-wide facility study to have recommendations on current and future operability.
The district will be updating and adding security cameras to school sites as recommended by law enforcement.

Richard Marion is a staff writer and photographer at Lake Okeechobee News and can be reached at rmarion@newszap.com.

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