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Mitchell Park Library construction faces delays

The City of Palo Alto, fed up with continued construc- tion delays at the Mitchell Park Library, has told the project’s construction company, Flintco, that continued delays in the project will result in their replacement. The $30 million construction project, which was approved by voters in 2008, has now fallen more than a year behind schedule.

In a letter sent from City Manager James Keene to Flintco, Keene out- lined the numerous causes of the delays. Keene described work crews failing to show up, or even quit- ting, as well as unacceptable amounts of defective work that have failed inspection by the Palo Alto Building Department.

“The schedules provided by Flintco show slippage each month,” the let- ter states. “Recently, the slippage has been so extensive that the sched- ule now indicates we are no closer to completion than we have been for

many months. In fact, Flintco has actually lengthened the schedule due to completed work that must be torn out and redone.”

While waiting for a response from Flintco, Palo Alto has reached out to another construction company to fin- ish the job should Flintco fail to stop the long string of errors that have led to the numerous delays.

The City of Palo Alto is also pre- paring itself for a legal battle if Flintco fails to correct its mistakes. The city has hired seven consultants, includ- ing attorneys and engineers, who will evaluate what went wrong during the construction process.

“We must now embark on a course of action to affect dramatic change quickly and a return to a normal and acceptable work pace,” Keene wrote.

The new Mitchell Park Library is Palo Alto’s largest construction project in over 40 years and once completed, it will be the largest of the city’s five library branches.

The two-story community cen- ter will feature a teen center, a large community room, a computer room, a cafe and a game room.

Assuming that there are no future complications, Flintco estimates that the project will be completed by the end of November, which is more than a year and a half past the orig- inal estimated date of completion, April 2012.

Even as Palo Alto prepares for a legal battle, the city says it still remains cautiously optimistic that Flintco will be able to complete the project in time.

“We hope that Flintco will step up its performance and complete the building soon,” City Attorney Molly Stump told The Daily News.

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