District 117 Withholds Payment From Johnco Construction For Incomplete Work at Washington Elementary

By Benjamin Cox on November 18, 2023 at 9:22am

Jacksonville School District 117’s Board of Education has withheld a final payment to a contractor due to incomplete work at Washington Elementary School.

District 117 Project Manager Bob Roads says that Johnco Construction is dragging its feet on multiple items that need to be wrapped up: “The school is operational but we still have punch list items. We have been trying to address them for the last 3 or 4 months, and they keep dragging on and on and on. The superintendent got a little bit involved in that process here in the last week or so. That seems to have lit another fire under the system. The contractor is assuring us that the vast majority of items will be completed in this next upcoming weekend. We still have to wait and see if that in fact, is going to occur. They have made similar promises in the past and it hasn’t happened. That being said, it is a beautiful project, a beautiful school. There is just certain items that we are wanting to get done and fixed that you wouldn’t tolerate in your home or place of business, and we are not going to tolerate it in the school.”

Roads says 3 items from the multi-page punch list won’t be finished until the end of the year. The doors in the newly renovated school are all scratched and are needing replaced by the manufacturer.

Roads says the final two items are much more intensive: “The second major issue is the HVAC system. We’ve had problems with noise on the second floor classrooms. We’ve also had one second-floor classroom individual unit, which has failed repeatedly. They have done some further analysis on this, and we’re just waiting for that final report to come in to give us an idea in terms of what needs to be done. Then, the last item that is some concern, is we have had on and off alarm issues in the building. The concern is that nobody thinks the alarm issue is a result of a fire but Johnco’s position has been that probably the fact that we have reused some of the alarm units that were there in the original construction project and they are not exactly sure what has caused these false alarms. It doesn’t appear to be much more than a nuisance item at this time, but it is an item that needs to be corrected.”

Superintendent Steve Ptacek says that the HVAC problem lies on Johnco contractors not following the original design on an airflow unit, which has created the excess noise on the second floor. Ptacek says a metal floor joist in the boiler room has also caused major structural problems in the basement of the building.

Roads recommended holding back payments to further spur Johnco to get the project completed properly.

The Board of Education unanimously approved pulling the action item on their Thursday night agenda to issue payment to Johnco until the company came into compliance with the work.