Logan school board wants out of SBA construction management contract

Ali Schmitz, Staff Writer

LOGAN — The Logan County Board of Education has officially requested to remove itself from a contract between Logan’s public school system and the construction management company the School Building Authority had assigned to the district.

The contract is related to a construction project, partially-funded by the SBA, to construct a new elementary school in Chapmanville. Board President Paul Hardesty alleged the contract with PCS was never brought to the Logan board for approval, and believes the contract is invalid.

“As we started diving into the logistics of the contract, that’s when we found out the logistics of the contract was one never brought to the board for approval,” Hardesty said.

The 117-page contract, provided to the Gazette-Mail by Hardesty, was signed by David Snead, then director of the SBA. Two spots on the contract, labeled for Logan’s superintendent and the president of the board of education, are unsigned.

Hardesty said the PCS contract was “forced” onto Logan County, and has not been executed properly. He said in the past, the county has hired a clerk of the works firm for school building projects, with an estimated cost for this project between $75,000-$100,000. The district is paying $954,000 for services from PCS.

“I have fiduciary responsibility to the children and taxpayers of Logan County. It’s their money,” Hardesty said. “If we let something like this go that we know is void, and not right, and we were taking money away from the contract to pay for an out of state construction manager, I don’t feel like I’m doing my job and my colleagues feel like they’re not doing their job.”

The SBA is providing about half — $6.5 million — of the funding for the $12.6 million project. Hardesty urged the SBA to find a solution to its concerns with the contract.
“The ball’s in SBA’s court. We hope to get a quick resolution,” Hardesty said. “As I told a gentleman from PCS earlier, this is not personal. It’s business.”

Travis Arey, PCS operations director, attended the meeting but was not given time to speak. PCS hired a court reporter to record the public meeting.

He did not respond to an interview request from the Gazette-Mail.

Hardesty said during the meeting that the board had consulted multiple attorneys before the vote. The decision came after the Board of Education voted to send a letter to the SBA earlier this month to ask the SBA’s board and executive director to cancel the contract.

A scheduled discussion about construction management was tabled during a SBA meeting Monday. SBA board Chairman Nick Casey appointed an ad hoc committee to study the issue.

Two firms, PCS, based in Charleston and Barnesville, Ohio, and Virginia-based MBP, have been hired by the SBA to provide construction management services to SBA-funded school building projects as part of a master task order agreement. Projects are divided between the two, depending on location and resources.

PCS has also been assigned to construct schools planned to replace flood-damaged Herbert Hoover High, Bridge Elementary and Clendenin Elementary in Kanawha County by the SBA. They are also assigned to any recovery efforts in Nicholas County.

Reach Ali Schmitz at ali.schmitz@wvgazettemail.com, 304-348-4843 or follow @SchmitzMedia on Twitter.