May 21, 2024
Lincoln contractor sues Elkhorn flooring company after delays in LPS middle school gym projects | Education

A Lincoln contractor is suing an Elkhorn flooring company for failing to install gym floors in a timely manner at Scott and Lux middle schools.

Perry Reid Construction is asking for $110,000 in damages from Great Plains Flooring of Elkhorn, according to the lawsuit filed in Lancaster County District Court on July 6.

In the filing, the construction company alleges Great Plains Flooring and its owner,  Edward Donahoe, breached contract following delays in securing supplies and installing floors at new gyms at Scott and Lux.

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In March 2021, Lincoln Public Schools awarded Perry Reid a $5.9 million bid to manage the gym projects and additional renovations at the schools, part of the $290 million bond issue voters approved in 2020. Perry Reid later contracted out the flooring portion of the work to Donahoe’s company for $270,000.

By August, installation had fallen behind, prompting Perry Reid President Ben Velinsky to send a letter to Donahoe terminating Great Plains Flooring from the Lux project, while spelling out a corrective course of action to remain on the Scott job.

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In that letter dated Aug. 20, Velinsky alleges the flooring company missed several deadlines to submit material samples and pricing.

Perry Reid also alleges it had to purchase the plywood base at a higher price than originally estimated because the subcontractor had not locked in the price with the supplier. To ensure no further delays, Perry Reid also bought the maple flooring.

After supplies arrived in early August, Perry Reid claims there was “consistently one person on one school installing” the maple flooring as an Aug. 31 deadline for completion approached.

Perry Reid then paid Great Plains Flooring $25,000 to ensure sufficient labor at each site and to get the projects back on track, but “minimal crews” continued to be used, Velinsky said.

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Perry Reid eventually ended the contract altogether and hired a new subcontractor.

Perry Reid said it paid out $298,000 for supplies and labor, about $28,000 more than the original bid, and had incurred $110,000 in damages to move the project forward.

To date, the new wood floors have yet to be installed at either gym, said LPS Director of Operations Scott Wieskamp.

The new, 12,000-square-feet gyms are now expected to be ready by next school year, Wieskamp said. The Lux project was originally set for completion last December, while Scott’s was to be ready in April.

The lawsuit illustrates the difficulties contractors and subcontractors face securing supplies and labor.

The shortage of materials — like plywood, which serves as the base of gym floors — has put contractors in a pinch, raising prices and conflicting with deadlines. Finding “good labor and good bodies” is hard as well, Wieskamp said.

Donahoe could not be reached for comment at a phone number listed on his company’s website.

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