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Pearson project will be delayed a year

POULSBO — The oldest school in the North Kitsap School District will have to wait one more year for its long-awaited renovations.

Pearson Elementary, which was scheduled to have renovation work completed this summer, will have to wait until the summer of 2004 because the North Kitsap School Board terminated its contract with Granquist Construction Company at the May 22 meeting.

The board’s decision was based on the fact that Granquist did not provide evidence that it had performance and payment bonds required by the contract.

Performance bonds ensure that if a construction company does not complete the required work, the other party — in this case, the school district — will be covered. Payment bonds ensure that if the company does not pay subcontractors, they will also be covered.

School district officials first became aware of the potential problem on May 5, when they were notified by Contractors Bonding and Insurance Company (CBIC) that the bonds Granquist claimed it had were not issued or authorized by CBIC.

Officials from Granquist Construction, which is based in Port Orchard, did not return a message left by the Herald.

Robin Shoemaker, the district’s director of capital projects, said postponing the project until 2004 is the best option.

While it delays the completion of the project a year, she added, it will mean that the school year won’t be interrupted or disrupted — something that would happen if the district scrambled to replace Granquist.

School Board Supt. Gene Medina said a hectic delay in the school year would be bad for students and staff.

“If you disrupt the beginning of the school year this way... it isn’t the way to go,” he said.

The delay likely won’t interfere with state matching funds for the project, but the district hasn’t yet received that notification in writing.

Granquist was the low bidder on the project, for $2.7 million.

No problems have been found with the work Granquist completed last summer.

The school’s renovations are partially funded by a $60-million-dollar bond passed by voters in 2001.

Once all the work is completed, the school will have received improvements in the ventilation system, carpeting, and electrical system, which were the basic requirements of the renovation.

Other projects include an air conditioning system; added equipment and table storage area for the multi-purpose room; better access to the stage, currently accessible only by a narrow set of stairs; water service on public water, instead of the well and pump that are now used; a full staff restroom in the lower building; replaced carpet and flooring throughout the building; more casework storage in the classrooms; and padding, volleyball floor sleeves, and a wall-mounted basketball backstop in the gym.

Shoemaker said that district staff are disappointed by the delay, but are lucky to have caught it when they did.

“We caught it in time before work had begun,” she said at the board meeting. “This could have been more serious and much, much more costly.”

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