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updated: 7/20/2012 1:41 PM

Lawsuits piling up over Ackerman Fitness Center

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  • The Glen Ellyn Park District has sued three additional firms involved in the construction of the Ackerman Sports and Fitness Center, where work to fix the facility's leaking roof continued this week.

       The Glen Ellyn Park District has sued three additional firms involved in the construction of the Ackerman Sports and Fitness Center, where work to fix the facility's leaking roof continued this week.
    Bev Horne | Staff Photographer


Glen Ellyn Park District is suing three more firms hired as part of the construction of the Ackerman Sports and Fitness Center, which has experienced roof leaks since opening in 2010.

The construction firm hired to build the $11.2 million, 88,000-square-foot facility, T.A. Bowman Constructors, originally filed suit against the park district last year, to which the district responded with a countersuit.

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Park district officials have blamed Bowman for the roof leaks, but the contractor has argued its crews weren't given the opportunity to correct the leaks.

Now, the district has amended its countercomplaint to include the project construction manager, Professional Building Services; building designer Ollman Ernest Architects; and Employers Mutual Casualty Company, which issued a performance bond on behalf of Bowman.

Park officials say the parties are liable for damages the building has experienced and they're seeking payment to fix the problems.

"It is unfortunate that the park district has to expend the money to repair the roof. However, we believe it is in the park district's best interests to fix the problems as soon as possible while at the same time pursuing legal action to recoup those costs," said Dave Harris, the park district's executive director, in a statement.

In a court filing, the park district's attorneys wrote that Professional Building Services, responsible for oversight of the Ackerman project, "failed to confirm that work was being performed in accordance with contracts and protect the park district against defects and deficiencies in the work."

Park district attorneys wrote that Ollman, the project architect, "provided and approved inadequate drawings and specifications for the project (and) failed to adequately inspect the site and notify the park district of nonconforming and defective work."

Attorneys said they filed suit against Employers Mutual Casualty, the surety for Bowman, because the firm "agreed to bind itself for the performance of the Bowman contract for work on the Ackerman project if Bowman defaulted and failed to perform its obligations under the contract."

Paul Ollman of Ollman Ernest Architects said he didn't know the park district filed suit against his firm, and declined further comment until seeing the suit.

Officials from Professional Building Services and Employers Mutual Casualty didn't return calls for comment.

There are some 20 leaks throughout the Ackerman facility, including at the corners of the building, middle of the roof, fitness center, fitness classroom, multipurpose room, and gym and indoor turf area exterior walls. Since the facility opened, a system of buckets, tarps and flexible piping has been in place around the building to control the leaks.

Park district officials said they've reserved capital funds to pay for the roof repairs in the interim.

The repair work is ongoing, and is expected to be complete in 25 working days, Harris said.

Attorneys for the park district and Bowman -- and perhaps the other parties -- are due back in court Sept. 13.

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