DPW: contracts allows for penalties for IBC - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

DPW: contracts allows for penalties for IBC

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by Ken Quintanilla

Guam - With an opening date set for August 16, International Bridge Corporation is working feverishly to get the final occupancy permit before the end of the week. While the clock is ticking for the school's completion, penalty fees may be assessed because of the delay - but not to the Government of Guam.

Although the contract originally stipulated that the new John F. Kennedy High School campus would be completed by mid-June, more than a month later the campus is set to finally open. However, before students and teachers can actually move in, IBC is still waiting on the final occupancy permit by the Department of Public Works. However, DPW Director Joanne Brown says the decision is not necessarily in her hands but in contractor IBC who needs to provide the facility to where it needs to be in terms of completion.

"I notice a lot of focus is on the government on delivering the permit, but that's not really the issue, the issue is the contractor delivering the construction of the school," Brown said.

Brown says once IBC receives the approvals from Public Health, the Guam Environmental Protection Agency and the Guam Fire Department, then DPW can do its inspection and approve the final occupancy permit that will allow students and others to enter the campus. Because the contractor is a month behind schedule, concerns have been raised about whether any penalties will be imposed on IBC.

Brown says strangely enough, a provision was not included in the contract to ensure that if the project was not completed in a timely fashion, penalties would have to be paid to the government. "'Cause contractually JFK was supposed to be completed July 15, there should certainly be a clause there to benefit the interest of the government because of the cost, the inconvenience that is created by any delays and school actually opening," she noted.

IBC stated that it had to move the target date in order to accommodate various needs of management and because of some hiccups in construction, but the company agreed to perform the additional work at no cost to the government. The contract actually states that IBC must pay penalties of $2,500 a day to Capital Projects Finance Authority, which Brown says has the lease on the JFK property. Whether those penalties will be assessed remains to be seen.

In the meantime, students and teachers anxiously await the issuance of the final occupancy permit. JFK teacher Angelo Andres said, "We're really looking forward to the ribbon cutting it is a slight delay, but it's something that's needed and we're just putting our trust in the public officials, the government, as well as IBC that they're looking out for the safety of the students and making sure that everything is done right for the school."

The ribbon cutting has been moved to Saturday, August 13 with teacher orientation set for the 15th and school opening the following day.

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