Defective track at center of dispute in Pickerington

 
 Messenger photo by Rachel Scofield
Plastic drop cloths draped over the stands at Pickerington North High School’s stadium billow in the wind.

The track at Pickerington High School North should have lasted 10 years with the correct maintenance, yet it only lasted half that, officials say.

The track delaminated – meaning the top layer pealed loose from the bottom layer.

Now, the school district finds itself in a dispute with who should pay for the repairs to the track, with the possibility of a lawsuit on the horizon.

Attorney Chris McCloskey of Bricker and Eckler represents the district in a dispute over the track with Chemcote Inc., the original contractor on the construction.

The district asked Chemcote to repair the track, but the company refused.

International Fidelity Insurance Company, who insured Chemcote, also declined to pay for the repairs.

Attorney Joseph Streb, who represents Chemcote, said his client was not notified of any defect with the track until January 2008, "five years, maybe more after the track was installed."

The school may not have maintained the track properly, he says.

In addition, Chemcote did not actually do the job. Instead, Chemcote hired a subcontractor, Southwest Recreational Sports (SRI Sports), Streb said.

At one time, SRI was a world leader in sports surfaces. SRI created Astroturf.  However in 2004, the company went bankrupt and many of its employees went to work for Defargo Sports Surfaces.

At Pickerington’s Aug. 11 school board meeting, board members agreed to pay Defargo nearly $118,000 to repair the track.

Because the track needed to be completed before the beginning of the school year, the district did not advertise for bids.  The school district contacted Defargo and accepted the company’s proposal based on advice from an expert in track surfaces, Roland Kunkel.

"We have the best reputation in the industry as far as track surfaces are concerned," said Jim Dotson, regional manager for Defargo. "We work with almost all major universities in Ohio, Michigan and actually, all over the United States."

Streb questions the wisdom of the district essentially hiring "the same people who did it (allegedly) incorrectly."

Although the school district’s attorney and Chemcote’s attorney hope to settle the disagreement outside court, they acknowledge the possibility that the district may file a lawsuit against Chemcote.

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