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Pittston Area settlement nets $725K

YATESVILLE – Pittston Area School District has reached a settlement netting $725,000 in the battle to recoup costs for major work required to correct heating and ventilation problems created during high school renovations, solicitor Joe Saporito announced at Tuesday’s school board meeting.

The money comes from insurance carried by the project engineers, the CEE Group.

“The district has received the money and it has been deposited,” Saporito told the crowd.

After the meeting he noted that the deal hits a $1 million dollar limit of the insurance policy. The remainder had been spent on interim solutions until the problem was fixed, and on legal costs in reaching the settlement. CEE also agreed to forfeit about $40,000 still owed by the district for the work.

Saporito didn’t know the cost of the repairs. The work had been estimated as high as $4 million during board meetings in the past. On Tuesday Substitute Superintendent George Cosgrove said he was pretty sure it had topped $3 million.

Problems with air quality and heat developed as soon as the renovations were complete in 2007. The cause was an apparent design error. The board had been told then that the system had been done to specifications provided by CEE, but the specifications failed to allow enough fresh air to enter the system.

The system was installed by Power Engineering Corporation, Wilkes-Barre. According to minutes from the April 2007 Pittston Area meeting, Power Engineering was awarded the heating ventilation and air conditioning as part of the high school renovations with a bid of slightly less than $2 million.

Saporito said the district has not taken any legal action regarding the HVAC system against Power Engineering or any other firm involved in the project, but that he is still working on recouping more of the repair costs.

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