Preston BOE settles West Preston construction suit

KINGWOOD — The Preston County Board of Education has settled out of court with companies involved in the construction of West Preston School.
Preston School Superintendent Steve Wotring said Thursday that he would release details of the settlement once he receives them from the board’s attorneys, but the board will be getting some funds and waiving of some costs.
In January 2017, the Preston County Board of Education sued Capitol Valley Contracting Inc., Architectural Vision Group Ltd. (AVG), Lewis Land Profession Inc. and Great American Insurance Co.
It later added GPD Group and Ebersole  Ltd. to the suit. GPD had acquired Ebersole, which is a dissolved Ohio firm.
The settlement calls for the companies to forgo some costs and refund some others, but Wotring didn’t have a final accounting yet. One example is that the architects will not charge an additional more than  $200,000 that was in dispute.
“And each of the subcontractors, there’s amounts for each those, but I don’t have amounts for each of those subcontractors,” Wotring explained.
“Plus some of what they said we owed them but did not pay up front we will not have to pay. They’re actually going to have to pay us, reimburse us. Most of these places are going to pay us a certain percentage of what we had already paid them due to problems that were from the onset,” Wotring said.
The money will be used to pay off bills still outstanding on the school, he said.
“We still had like $700,000 worth of bills there. We’re not going to get $700,000 out of this settlement,” Wotring said.
That’s money owed contractors and subcontractors, he said. “With this settlement, part of that will be reduced. We’ll use whatever we get to offset what we still owe for that building.”
Preston Circuit Judge Steve Shaffer signed an order in late January, dismissing the suit. The dismissal was agreed upon by all parties. In the order they said, “that all issues and disputes” have been settled.
Shaffer and Senior Status Judge Lawrance Miller Jr. had previously ordered mediation in the case.
The  board contended in the suit that other contractors had to be hired to correct mistakes made by AVG, Capitol Valley and the others.
Wotring said the board of education does not have to approve the settlement because it gave its attorneys, Bowles Rice LLP, authority to manage the suit.
The dismissal specifies that all parties will pay their own legal expenses.
West Preston was the last school to be built with funds from the 2010 construction bond. The final cost was more than $14.9 million. Originally it was estimated it would cost $13.2 million to build.

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