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updated: 3/22/2016 5:41 AM

Legal battle over leaky roof at Ackerman Sports & Fitness Center could be over soon

Glen Ellyn Park District set to vote on settlement tonight

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  • Glen Ellyn Park District commissioners will vote Tuesday on a settlement agreement that would end a legal dispute over a leaky roof at the Ackerman Sports & Fitness Center that required buckets to catch dripping water.

    Glen Ellyn Park District commissioners will vote Tuesday on a settlement agreement that would end a legal dispute over a leaky roof at the Ackerman Sports & Fitness Center that required buckets to catch dripping water.
    Daily Herald file photo

  • The roof at the Ackerman Sports & Fitness Center in Glen Ellyn began leaking even before it opened in January 2010.

      The roof at the Ackerman Sports & Fitness Center in Glen Ellyn began leaking even before it opened in January 2010.
    Bev Horne | Staff Photographer, June 2012

 
 

Glen Ellyn Park District would recover only a fraction of the money it spent to repair a leaky roof at the Ackerman Sports & Fitness Center under a proposed settlement agreement with contractors.

The park board is set to vote Tuesday night on a pact that would end a nearly five-year legal fight. Under the terms, contractors and other parties involved in the dispute would pay the park district $250,000.

The district also would be released from paying $190,000 it withheld from several firms after the leaks were discovered, Executive Director Dave Harris said, and $10,000 of its legal fees would be waived.

"We're disappointed that the park district won't be fully compensated for all costs incurred for remediating the roofing issues, but that's probably an unrealistic expectation," Harris said Monday.

The settlement agreement would allow the district to avoid additional legal fees, several more years of litigation and an unpredictable outcome of a jury trial, he said.

The Ackerman roof began leaking shortly before the $11.2 million building opened in January 2010. Buckets, tarps and piping temporarily held water springing from at least 20 leaks throughout the 80,000-square-foot building near St. Charles Road.

The park district spent roughly $815,000 on permanent fixes, and a roofing consultant who investigated the source of the leaks recommended a solution and bid out the work.

Legal costs, meanwhile, have approached nearly $250,000, Harris said.

T.A. Bowman Constructors, the firm hired to build Ackerman, first filed a breach of contract lawsuit against the park district in July 2011. Bowman was "willing and able to finish its work" but accused the district of denying crews the opportunity to correct the issues, the suit states.

The park district denied those claims and filed a countersuit against Bowman. Three more firms later were added to the complaint: Professional Building Services Inc., the project's construction manager; Ollmann Ernest Architects, the building's designer; and Employers Mutual Casualty Co., which issued bonds on behalf of Bowman in 2008.

Bowman also later argued two subcontractors, Whited Brothers Inc. and Imperial Construction Associates Inc., should be held liable for deficiencies in the roof, according to its complaint.

Through their insurers, five firms would pay the park district $250,000 to settle the dispute. Bowman would owe $80,000. Professional Building Services, Ollmann, Whited Brothers and Imperial would pay the rest.

The settlement also would not "constitute an admission of liability of any party."

A status hearing on the agreement is set for April 12 in DuPage County court.

Harris, who was hired in July 2011, said Ackerman hasn't had any problems since an insulated, "single ply" membrane was installed on the existing roof. The $715,000 project was completed by another contractor, Solaris Roofing Solutions, in September 2012.

The district also hired Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates to evaluate the condition of the roof, develop repairs and oversee the project. The Northbrook firm cited several factors that contributed to the leaks, including a slope that was too shallow in some areas to allow effective draining.

"It's worked out well," Harris said of the fixes. "It's been a good repair."

• Daily Herald staff writer Christopher Placek contributed to this report

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