Seymour files suit against school architects

Seymour files suit against school architects

Source: http://www.allbusiness.com, September 7, 2007
By: Matthew Higbee, Connecticut Post, Bridgeport

The town has sued the architectural firm that designed the middle school over a recurring moisture problem that is cracking the ground floor in several classrooms and causing mold to appear.

The lawsuit, filed against Fletcher Thompson Architects in Milford Superior Court on Wednesday, followed legal actions that the town has already taken against the school’s builder, O&G Industries.

George Temple, the town attorney, said the town has threatened to sue O&G, which in turn has sued Haynes Construction, which poured the concrete. Temple said that while O&G claims the concrete mixture was faulty, Haynes, in turn, is blaming the specifications drawn up by Fletcher Thompson.

Temple called the lawsuit against the Shelton-based architecture firm “prophylactic,” referring to a strategy of protecting the town by bringing all the potentially responsible parties into the case. “We don’t care who was at fault,” Temple said. “We’ve got a problem and we don’t want it and someone has to pay for it.”

Fletcher Thompson officials declined to comment about the lawsuit. Seymour Public Schools Finance Director Rick Belden said that the problem surfaced shortly after the school opened in September 2001. A series of cracks appeared underneath the linoleum floor on the ground floor and allowed moisture to seep in, causing the tiles to buckle in several classrooms in the lower wings of the building and spurring mold growth.

Belden said that the school has not had to spend much money on the problem yet. Instead, the maintenance staff has replaced tiles as needed. “We’ve remediated the discolored tiles at this point,” Belden said. “The longer-term issue is that the cracking has to be remediated.”

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