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updated: 7/13/2011 10:23 PM

Cambridge Lakes school sues architect

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The operator of the Cambridge Lakes Charter School in Pingree Grove has sued its architect for $775,000, saying delays in producing construction documents and poor design elements drove up the cost and pushed back the school's opening.

In a lawsuit filed this week in Kane County, the Northern Kane Educational Corp. cites the Naperville-based Newman Architecture for breach of contract and also seeks punitive damages because the school opened in September 2007, not the year before.

According to the suit, Newman submitted architectural drawings anywhere from 60 days to 3 years past deadline for numerous buildings at the campus that serves kids from preschool through eighth grade.

The delays forced concrete crews to work in the winter, thus driving up costs, and for the corporation to incur more financing costs, the suit states.

Company president Charles Newman said he had not seen the lawsuit and could not comment on it.

"We don't do the construction. We design the buildings," he said.

The lawsuit also alleges poor design concepts that had to be fixed by the corporation.

"Newman designed exterior doors at the school with the emergency 'panic bar' on the outside if the building. This design defect allowed direct access to the buildings without a key or electronic pass. This completely compromised the security of the school," the suit said, noting it cost $68,000 to fix that error.

The suit also said the 20-foot-long lights in classrooms weren't attached to weight bearing structures and after one fell down they all had to be rehung.

More than 700 students from the Community Unit Community Unit District 300 will attend the school at 900 Wester Blvd. next year.

The case is set for an initial hearing before Judge Robert Spence on Sept. 29.

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