Rogers Stadium construction falls behind schedule

Bellefonte board disputes $106,000 change order

CHRIS MORELLI/THE EXPRESS Construction continues at Bellefonte Area High School’s Rogers Stadium. The project was originally scheduled to be finished by Friday, July 26. However, construction is lagging behind and may not be completed until mid-August.

BELLEFONTE — With the start of high school football season a little over a month away, construction continues daily at Bellefonte Area High School’s Rogers Stadium.

At a recent board meeting, construction manager Dave Stezin gave the school board an update on construction progress at the stadium. Board vice president Bob Lumley-Sapanski questioned a work order for more than $106,000 to complete water and sewer work.

“Can you explain why we are getting a bill for $106,000 … why is there a $106,000 change order for water and sewer?” Lumley-Sapanski asked.

Stezin quickly responded.

“There’s some ambiguity in the specifications. Neither the plumber nor the general contractor had that in their bid. In order to keep the project moving with the relative timeline that we have left, I issued a construction change directly to J.C. Orr to do the work,” Stezin said. “Because there is no emphatic way of determining whether it’s the plumber or the contractor at this time, I had to make a decision so I went with J.C. Orr because they’re the ones who are driving the schedule.”

Stezin added that the decision to go with J.C. Orr was an easy one.

“The plumbing contractor is behind at this time and I didn’t want to add any more work to their plate,” Stezin said. “It’s still up in the air about who owns this and I’m working behind the scenes to figure this out. Between both the designers and myself, I’m leaning toward the plumber owning this, but I have to get the work done so I’ve gone to the general contractor to get it completed.”

Following the meeting, board president Jon Guizar addressed the issue.

“There’s a scope dispute that’s being looked at,” Guizar said. “The plumber doesn’t think it’s in their scope of work, so they’re saying it’s not in their bid. But that really doesn’t fly. There’s going to have to be a legal interpretation of this.”

According to Guizar, this shouldn’t have been an issue.

“We’ve had scope review meetings, we’ve had pre-bid meetings that give the contractors a chance to make anything known if they have a problem with the drawings, there were pre-construction meetings where they had a chance to make those items known. Nobody mentioned it until it was time to put it in,” Guizar said.

Stezin said that he plans to get the issue resolved quickly.

“I’ve been working on this for more than a month,” Stezin said. “I still don’t have emphatic answers on it and how we handle this. It’s going to be a pushing match and a shoving match here, but I’m going to work to see that we get through it.”

Phase II Update

As far as the completion of Phase II of the Rogers Stadium project is concerned, Stezin said that the project is lagging behind.

“We are still showing lag in the original schedule,” Stezin said. “I’ve continued to ask them to work weekends and extended hours and they’re doing that to the best of their ability. Manpower is very tight this time of year and everyone is busy. Not a lot of guys are willing to work weekends; I’ve asked them to do that. They’re here on Saturdays and working extended hours.”

According to Stezin, many are working 10-plus hours a day to see that the project gets completed.

Phase II was supposed to be completed on Friday, July 26 but that date has changed.

“There were no additional calendar days asked for to complete the work,” Guizar noted. “So, I’m a little confused as to how we say substantial completion was required on July 26 and they keep changing their schedule without approval.”

The project was pushed back to Tuesday, Aug. 6 and now to Monday, Aug. 12.

There are events planned for Aug. 12, 13 and 14 evenings at the stadium. On those days, student-athletes, coaches, administrators, parents and the community at large will be invited to get an inside look at the stadium and all of its amenities under the lights.

The Bellefonte Red Raider football team is scheduled to take on Jersey Shore in its home opener on Friday, Aug. 23. It will be Bellefonte’s first home opener in Week One since the 2016 season.