The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

March 24, 2013

Arbiter rules in favor of Danville Primary School contractor

By Robert Stoneback
The Daily Item

— DANVILLE — An arbiter has awarded contractor E.R. Stuebner more than $100,000 that had been withheld from the company by the Danville Area School District.

“E.R. Stuebener felt we were being dealt with unfairly at the conclusion of the project and subsequently received a favorable award from the American Arbitration Association,” said Douglas George, the executive vice president and chief operating officer for E.R. Stuebner.

The school district may yet pursue further legal action, and school officials contend the district was justified in not paying the contractor, whom they contend did not complete work on the Danville Primary School.

Both George and Allan Schappert, president of Danville’s school board, declined to disclose the amount of money Stuebner will receive from the arbitration.

Toward the end of the project, the contract amount due to Stuebner exceeded $100,000, George said.

Both parties spent a week in arbitration in Harrisburg in January. The ruling was received a few weeks ago, Schappert said.

Stuebner was awarded the low-bid contract for the construction of the Danville Primary School, which cost roughly $23 million, said Schappert. While the school reached substantial completion in time to be open for the start of the 2011-2012 school year, the district claims several items were left unfinished.

“They never really completed the project,” Schappert said.

Much of the dispute was primarily about exterior work, such as landscaping, he said. According to Schappert, the school board spent several months during the summer and fall of 2012 trying to contact Stuebner about replacing withered plants around the school, which were still under warranty.

“Stuebner had not responded to any of our requests to finish up. After several months of this, legal counsel advised that they had abandoned the contract,” Schappert said.

George said that there had been regular contact with the district’s construction manager, Reynolds Construction.

“I know there was communication made by our project team,” he said.