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Tom Landry stadium construction lags due to unforeseen issues, change orders

“This article appeared in the Jan. 28 issue of the Progress Times.”

Repairs at Tom Landry Hall of Fame Stadium in Mission have been behind schedule since Sept. 27, 2021, when one of several issues disrupted the project. Mission CISD, Rick Hinojosa Structural Engineering and G&G Construction have been sifting through change order proposals the trustees need to approve before construction can get back on track. But due to several unforeseen issues from the previous renovations that G&G has uncovered, the school board members are not seeing the kind of progress they had hoped to see.

“Of course we would like to see the work done quicker,” MCISD Board President Jerry Zamora said. “But we want to make sure that the work that needs to be done is done correctly, so we don’t have to go through this again.”

Some of the issues that G&G has reported so far are a lack of pier reinforcement, concrete flatwork incorrectly placed and electrical conduits that need to be repaired or abandoned.

The engineer, the contractor and administration have spent the last few board meetings and workshops dissecting the seven change order proposals the board has yet to approve. Although completing the project correctly has remained a priority for the three parties, another factor is the cost.

Legally, the district can only approve change orders at 25 percent of the contract, which is $1,024,855. According to Director of Public Relations and Marketing Craig Verley, the Tom Landry stadium repairs project has a $20,000 contingency budget. The balance of that budget is $11,758.12.

“Only after we spend the balance do we go into a possible change order and begin using the 25 percent threshold. So at this time, we are not there yet,” Verley explained.

Part of the reason for the hold-up is because all three parties are filtering through which change order proposals are necessary to complete the project promptly while also trying to gauge appropriate cost and timeframe.

Albert Treviño from Hinojosa Engineering repeatedly told the board of trustees at the Jan. 5 special meeting that G&G’s projected cost and period required for executing the proposed change orders are unacceptable and excessive. But G&G Project Manager Manuel Leal said he wants to ensure a high level of professionalism on the job.

“At no point in time are we going to sacrifice quality for saving time. I understand [the time] completely, I do. But it needs to be done right,” Leal said. “And, being quite honest, the remaining time it’s going to take to finish this job, I don’t have enough profit in this job. I just want to finish it and finish it right, so I don’t have to worry about it and give you guys a good product. So every little detail is taken into consideration, and I have to admit, these subcontractors are not the cheapest, and I’m not going to hire the cheapest.”

Leal expressed concern over the district and the engineer’s desire to keep shortening construction time because if his team does not meet the deadline, MCISD will charge G&G for liquidated damages.

“We’re going to work with Albert to try to cut back more days, but I put myself in a very risky position,” the project manager said. “I’m going to lower the days but, there’s some things that are out of our control, you know? Our intentions are well; we mean well. I want to do this right. I want to get paid.”

By the Jan. 12 board meeting, G&G and Hinojosa Engineering reached an agreement on which proposed change orders they will focus on, but the cost and timeframe are still an issue. They will no longer meet the original projected completion date of mid-April 2022. Based on the proposed change orders, and not including weather days, the repairs could be completed anywhere from September to November 2022. Still, the board has not approved any change orders yet.

At the Jan. 19 board meeting, the trustees authorized the superintendent and administration to negotiate the change orders for the Tom Landry stadium repair project. To avoid any confusion, Mission CISD’s Attorney David Hansen suggested the three parties consolidate the information into one change order that addresses the key items. Administration will then propose the final agreement to the school board, per standard procedure.

“We are working diligently with this project, and we are upset just as much as our community is about it not being ready for our students and our community to enjoy,” Zamora said. “But we want it done right, and however long it takes, but hopefully sooner than not.”

As G&G uncovered new issues, Zamora said he and the rest of the board were surprised to learn there had been so much damage lingering from the construction in 2017. The district hired Alvarado Architects & Associates and construction company Holchemont LTD for the 2017 renovations. Following the completion, MCISD hired Hinojosa Engineering to conduct a structural assessment, which revealed damages. In July 2021, Mission CISD hired G&G Construction to repair problems from the 2017 renovations.

 

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