Trustees pay NewPath $21,000 for work on Vo-Tech roof


HOUSTON – Trustees approved an invoice of $21,629.18 to NewPath Strategy Consultants at a special called meeting Friday morning.

The payment of the claim was the sole action item on the agenda, but the school board did conduct a “walk-through” of all district buildings and grounds after the meeting adjourned.

The board had sought NewPath’s expertise after repeated problems with leaks at the Houston School of Science and Technology, (SST), formerly known as the Vo-Tech center.

“This work is for consulting and inspection,” said Assistant Superintendent Chad Spence. “They presented us with a packet of the work they have done and this invoice reflects that work.”

Spence said the district is still trying to remedy the problems of leaks and there are “some minor leaks” to be found at the SST building.

The motion to pay NewPath was made by Trustee Daniel Heeringa and seconded by Trustee Zach Huffman. Trustees Marvin Beard and Bart Munlin voted for the motion with Trustee Carol Byrne absent.

Trustees voted in April to once again have their board attorney send a letter of notice to all parties responsible for the roof on the SST building.

Trustees have met repeatedly in executive session for almost six months to talk about how they might go about getting the roof or be reimbursed for work they believe was not done properly.

On a motion by Trustee Carol Byrne the board met on April 9 with Warren Bowen, of NewPath Strategy Consultants, in executive session for about 30-minutes. The board said the closed meeting was to ask Bowen his assessment of the situation and what has or has not been done to stop water from getting in classrooms.

The board voted to ask their attorney James Hood to “write a demanding letter to GAF roofing and all parties necessary” about addressing the district’s issues with the roof. In January the board had instructed Hood to send a letter to the project architect, contractor and bonding company explaining the school’s concern and asking them to meet with the district.

And the roof continues to leak.

The district contracted with Copper Top Roofing in 2010 to fix the roof at a cost of $240,000. The school board has met repeatedly with architect Roger Pryor and contractor Copper Top Roofing since the roof was installed saying they are not satisfied with the work.

Pryor and Copper Top say the problem is with condensation pans on old air conditioning units and not the roof that was installed.

At a March 2011 meeting Pryor said the type of roof installed does not have a history of failure and he believes it was installed correctly.

Trustees Bart Munlin and Rayburn Parks climbed on and inspected the vo-tech roof in March 2011 to try and find a solution to chronic leaks that have plagued the building.

Munlin, an engineer, and Parks, a well-services businessman, also reviewed a copy of the actual bid specifications that were used to repair the roof in an attempt to determine the scope of the work and if that work had been done.

Munlin said at that time condensation pan on the bottom of air conditioners on the roof have deteriorated and it appeared the contractor and architect had done what they said they would do.

Parks was a little more hesitant and said those condensation plates should have been replaced and should have been part of the scope of work when the architect drew up specifications.

The district hired NewPath Strategy Consultants in June 2012 to develop a plan to assess and estimate costs for repairing leaks at the Houston Vocational Building and replacing air conditioners.

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