Don’t Tolerate Quality Lapses

Marshall County Board of Education members have been frustrated for months about delays in completion of the new Cameron High School. Now they are adding shoddy workmanship to their headaches.

Students were supposed to have been in the new CHS last fall. But completion of the facility now is scheduled for Dec. 18, more than a year after the work originally was expected to be finished. Board members and school Superintendent Fred Renzella have discussed the project frequently during the past several months. During a meeting Tuesday, board member Lori Kestner said she toured the work site last weekend – and was upset by what she saw.

Kestner displayed pictures showing problems with cracked asphalt, handrails and drains. “If you did work like that at my house, I’d fire you on the spot,” she told those at the meeting.

Ron Blatt, of Project and Construction Services, which is managing the high school work, said most of the problems cited by Kestner had been corrected. Others will be addressed, he added.

Board members are right to be upset. As John Miller, a new member of the board, put it to Blatt, “The public has a right to hold us accountable – and we have a right to hold you accountable.”

At one point, assurances such as those heard Tuesday about correcting deficiencies in the project might have been acceptable to board members. But that point passed months ago. Now, they have no realistic choice but to continue checking up on construction crews frequently, as Kestner did – and insisting that shoddy work be corrected.

Her concern – that workers may speed up projects to meet the Dec. 18 deadline and thus, not do the work properly – is a valid one. School officials should insist the project be completed by the new deadline, and be of acceptable quality.