A school construction project that ended up hundreds of thousands of dollars over-budget and took an extra two years to build is finally finished.
But a new $1.9 million play court at Mililani Middle School has sat empty for six months now. The students aren’t allowed to use it, and no one can say when it’s going to open.
“The actual court is complete. We are just waiting for a certificate of occupancy from the fire department at this point,” said Dann Carlson, Department of Education superintendent of facilities.
The Honolulu Fire Department will not issue the certificate for the play court because it wants Mililani Middle to fix the fire alarm system for the rest of its campus first.
An HFD spokesman said the department conducted an inspection back in December 2014 after the school upgraded its fire alarm system using a different contractor, Ohana Control Systems Inc., which did not work on the play court.
Fire inspectors found two problems that needed to be addressed: fire alarms were not loud enough at some parts of the school, and some of the alarms’ strobe lights were not synchronized.
“That’s when we went back to the contractor and tried getting them to complete those,” Carlson said. “They tried to fix some of them, but in the end, they didn’t get them all fixed. We continued to go back and forth with HFD.”
In July, the DOE terminated its contract with Ohana Control Systems, but before that happened, the contractor said there were other issues going on.
“We did a complete credit hold on any work for DOE because they owed me money since 2012 on other projects that we did and they short-changed me on another school,” said the company’s president Amir Borochov.
The DOE is going to use the insurance policy in the contract it had with Ohana to determine how the fire alarm system changes will be completed.
For now, it’s working with the fire department to get a temporary certificate to open the play court.