Upper St. Clair High School

Upper St. Clair High School

A contractor has filed suit against Upper St. Clair School District seeking more than $1.875 million plus interest and fees.

Walter Mucci Construction Co. Inc. of Franklin Township, Fayette County, served as prime general contractor for general construction work and capital improvements at Upper St. Clair High School and Boyce Middle School.

According to the lawsuit, filed with the civil division of the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas, the school district “has failed to approve change orders for the additional changed work or compensate Mucci for all additional costs incurred due to the cumulative impacts.”

The company submitted two claims to the district, in September and October, for compensation. The suit asserts Mucci has not been paid, and the district has prevented the firm from “completing certain base contract and punch list work” and “submitting contract closeout documents necessary to receive final payment and retainage,” the latter representing 5% of the value of all complete and approved work.

The district cannot provide comment on the specifics of ongoing litigation, according to solicitor Jocelyn Kramer.

“The district is working with the solicitor and special counsel to ensure that the taxpayers of Upper St. Clair have received good quality workmanship on the project and that the taxpayers are only required to pay for amounts rightfully due and owing under the construction contract and applicable law,” she stated by email. “Any other claims will be vigorously defended by the district.”

In October, the school board approved the law offices of Jessica Quinn-Horgan as special counsel, although the purpose for the appointment was not specified.

In addition to Upper St. Clair School District, the lawsuit names as defendants other companies that were contracted to work on the improvement project in various capacities: McLean Architects LLC, Professional Service Industries Inc. and PVE LLC.

The suit states in September 2018, Mucci “received approval to issue its baseline schedule to perform the project work,” which included construction of a community center for district operations at the high school stadium, along with completing a new natatorium within the school and converting the existing natatorium to multipurpose space.

“However, Mucci was never able to proceed under the approved schedule due to additions, revisions and changes to the contract documents,” according to the document filed with the court.

On Sept. 11, the company filed a claim with the district seeking compensation for “direct costs included costs incurred from additional and changed work, design changes, owner-caused delays and concealed or unknown conditions,” totaling $482,117.54.

The second claim, filed Oct. 9, calls for payment of $472,806.21 to cover “indirect costs associated with delays, impacts and interferences due to additional and changed work, design changes, owner-caused delays and concealed or unknown conditions.”

“The indirect costs consist of $100,487 in extended general conditions, $133,644 in extended home office overhead, and $236,089 in loss of productivity,” the lawsuit states.

The school district and the construction company entered into an agreement in March 2019 for a stipulated sum of $16.15 million, “subject to additions and deletions of alternates.”

“(D)ue to USC’s errors and/or errors by USC’s design consultants and their subcontractors, the contract documents failed to provide Mucci with full, complete and accurate information necessary for the planned execution of its work,” the lawsuit contends.

“Instead, the project’s designs required substantial changes, clarifications and modifications throughout the performance of Mucci’s work.”

Multimedia Reporter

Staff writer Harry Funk, a professional journalist for three-plus decades, has been on the staff of The Almanac since 2015. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and master of business administration, both from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

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