The greenhouse at Newtown High School is nearly done, but questions are being raised about the quality of the craftsmanship as well as the cost to the town, officials said.
“There was some difficulty with the installation of the greenhouse,” First Selectman Pat Llodra told the Board of Finance this week. “It was wrongly sized for the foundation and so it looked awkward on its foundation.”
The greenhouse project has been plagued with delays and issues, starting last year when the Public Building and Site Commission and other officials . While officials and the general contractor were able to find ways to , other issues have since arisen.
For instance, due to old drawings one subcontractor had used to build the concrete foundation, the dimensions for the base turned out to be slightly off causing the greenhouse, which arrived pre-fabricated and installed on school grounds, to not fit properly on the foundation, according to Clerk of the Works Bill Knight.
As a fix, the general contractor got another subcontractor to put metal flashing around the gap between the foundation and the greenhouse to protect it from leaks and the plan was to have brickwork go around the foundation to hide the workaround, officials said.
But the mason work was not of a high quality, raising eyebrows last month, Knight said.
“The brick is not level and plumb,” he said.
So while the greenhouse is functional, officials are questioning whether the quality of the work is worth the cost, and discussions are still taking place regarding that issue, officials said.
“Once they started to do the exterior finishes on it, it really became noticeable,” First Selectman Pat Llodra said of the craftsmanship during the finance board meeting. “They continue to try to find some way to fix the problem.”
In addition, officials may have to contend with additional costs to the project because while the greenhouse was intended to be served by a household 1-inch water line, the fire marshal asked that the number of sprinklers be increased from six to 12 so that sprinklers could be installed above and below window shades outfitted on the ceiling of the greenhouse, officials said.
The doubling of sprinkler heads now requires a 2-inch water line to the greenhouse, officials said.
“There are some additional costs related to that,” Llodra said.
Other items also remain outstanding in the high school project, such as blown out speakers in the gymnasium, officials said.
“My worry continues to grow that we have a contract that is not being faithfully executed,” Llodra said.