Mt. Lebanon swimming pool renovation plan hits snag
Mt. Lebanon's long-awaited upgrade to its swimming pool and bath house was supposed to get under way after Labor Day and be finished in time for next summer, but a lawsuit over the bid process is threatening that schedule.
When bids for the renovations came in this month well above engineers' initial estimates, commissioners awarded the contracts anyway so they could add more amenities to the pool and the work could be finished over the winter.
But the project could be delayed because a resident is suing the municipality, claiming the commission improperly allowed the winning bidder to modify its bid and undercut another company because the board didn't want to hire a minority contractor.
“The issue right now is whether we should be stopped from proceeding in the near future,” said Mt. Lebanon Manager Steve Feller, who declined further comment on the allegations in the lawsuit. “It would be speculation on my part to say how long it might take.”
In the lawsuit, resident Anna Pappas alleges that at the bid opening on Aug. 7, Washington-based Waller Construction was the low bidder on general construction work after adding their base bid of $1.618 million to their $18,000 bid for drainage work the commission listed as an optional add-on, for a total bid of $1.64 million.
Jefferson Hills-based Plavchak Construction submitted a $1.49 million base bid, but bid $222,800 for the drainage work for a total of $1.71 million.
Pappas is seeking an injunction that would prohibit work from being done until the rest of the case is decided.
Pappas is a resident of Mt. Lebanon, which gives her standing to challenge the commission's decision, said Pappas' attorney, Mark Willard.
Plavchak, the lawsuit said, was allowed to adjust its bid for the drainage to $119,100 after all other bids were opened, making it the lowest bidder for the overall contract. The commission voted on Aug. 13 to give the work to Plavchak.
The municipality's rules say that all bids and corrections have to be received before the bid opening date.
Pappas' lawsuit alleges that the municipality was trying to avoid giving the contract to Waller, a minority-owned business. She asks that Plavchak's contract be invalidated and awarded to Waller, and that Plavchak be blocked from rebidding.
Mark Plavchak, president of Plavchak Construction, declined to comment because of the pending litigation.
Greg Kittridge, vice president and project manager at Waller, said he was shocked at the Aug. 13 commission meeting when Plavchak revised its bid to be the lowest.
“I still, to this day, think there's something funny here,” Kittridge said.
Feller said the commission was scheduled to withdraw the contract Monday night and re-award it to Plavchak without the controversial drainage add-on.
But Allegheny County Common Pleas Court Judge Christine Ward ordered that no action be taken, pending a hearing on the injunction. No date had been set.
The commission has awarded contracts for general construction, plumbing, heating, ventilation and air conditioning, electrical and aquatic work on the pool project worth a total of $3.95 million, to be paid for from a $4.8 million recreation bond issued late last year.
When design and other costs are taken into account, the pool project will cost about $4.28 million. A slide and other features are being added.
Options added to the pool mean will leave less money for other recreation improvements, such regrading two holes at the municipal golf course or upgrading Robb Hollow Park, Feller said.
Matthew Santoni is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5625 or email@example.com.
Add Matthew Santoni to your Google+ circles.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Already social media network CEO, Upper St. Clair senior wired for success
- Parents, students fight for Moon Area child development course
- Young Achiever: Troy Ferguson
- Relief ahead for McKnight Road users
- Bethel Park breaking ground on new fire station
- Mt. Lebanon rejects bids to renovate high school rifle range