The roof at the Ackerman Sports & Fitness Center in Glen Ellyn has been leaking since the $11.2 million facility opened in January 2010.
For the past 18 months, contractors hired to work on the building say they've begged the park district to let them return and fix the leaks. But they say park officials won't let them.
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Just last week, the Glen Ellyn Park District board voted to terminate agreements with three firms involved in the project, citing breach of contracts.
But one of those contractors says the district breached its own contract -- by not allowing crews to finish work on the roof.
"There's handcuffs on our hands and they're telling me to swim," said Tom Bowman, owner of TA Bowman Constructors, the firm that built Ackerman.
The project's construction manager, Dale Reiser of Professional Building Services, said on a scale of one to 10 the roof's condition was a two or three when he last inspected it in March 2010.
Bowman and Reiser said leakage issues arose in part because of installation of parapets at the building's corners, done for aesthetic purposes. They said they suggested putting in a heat tracing system that would have thawed ice that gathers at the roof's edges, but park officials rejected the proposal.
Reiser acknowledged there also were "workmanship issues," but argues any problems would have been fixed had contractors been allowed to finish the project.
"Why is the roof leaking? Because no one has been allowed to complete it," Reiser said. "It's that simple."
Reiser said the roof was "substantially complete" when the facility opened at the start of 2010. A roof inspection had been planned for the spring when weather would have been better, at which time a warranty would have been issued, he said.
But that inspection never happened and the park district hired consultants to investigate the roof problems and see how they could be fixed.
The first consultant, Division Seven, didn't make any recommendations on roof fixes. The second, Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, has presented options for the park board's consideration, said board President Melissa Creech.
That report, completed in March, hasn't yet been made public, but Bowman said it proposes adding a new roof on top of the current one, or completely installing a new roof.
He called the report "misguided," since it was done by someone who doesn't specialize in roof consulting. He also argues the second consultant was hired because the first one "didn't say what they wanted him to say."
"They're turning their back on people who know the roofing business," Bowman said. "They're telling us no and saying yes to attorneys."
Bowman said American Buildings Co., the project's original roofing subcontractor, could complete repairs in five days.
He said he's requested face-to-face meetings with the park board but has been turned down. He indicated his company and other subcontractors on the Ackerman project may file suit against the park district if there's no resolution by June 15.
Bowman said his company is still owed $175,000 from the park district, and PBS is owed $30,000.
Superintendent of Parks Dave Scarmardo previously said contract balances have been held on "a good faith basis."
Creech said the park district has sought to make sure there's a permanent solution to all problems with the Ackerman roof. She disputed claims the leaks would be a quick fix.
"Instead of doing something temporary, we want to make sure this roof and this facility will last us for decades," Creech said.
Former board President Ed Hess, who was unseated in the April election, said park commissioners wanted to make sure there was a long-term fix
"We could've expedited (the process), but would it be a Band-Aid that would've come back in three or four years?" Hess said.
He said terminating contracts with the three firms hired to do work at Ackerman would have been his last choice, since the park district doesn't have the 30-year roof warranty the district previously purchased.
Meanwhile, Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates will be preparing supplemental design and bid documents for roof repairs. Park officials have said they hope the roof will be fixed before winter.