ANNAPOLIS – Gov. Parris N. Glendening chided University of Maryland officials Tuesday for construction delays and costly redesigns of the school’s Maryland Center for the Performing Arts.
But Glendening and the other two members of the Board of Public Works committed another $1.9 million to the project.
The board contracted with Parsons Infrastructure and Technology Group of Hanover, Md., to manage construction of the $110 million center.
“We don’t have any real option but this $1.9 million appropriation,” Glendening said. “This project has been managed very poorly. … It looks like it’s been really screwed up.”
The 318,000-square-foot center, which will house the school’s fine arts programs and showcase national artists, was supposed to open in fall 1999. But Chuck Sturtz, the university’s vice president for administrative affairs, told the board the opening has been delayed at least one year and could cost $12 million more than expected.
The board warned the university that it was responsible for any cost overruns.
“It would have to come out of campus money,” Sturtz said. “It would have to come out of our resources, the money raised from tuition.”
Sturtz faulted the project’s designers for not drafting the plans on time, which forced the university to begin building the center on the north side of campus with incomplete blueprints, he said.
Contractors have already had to retrofit parts of the building’s steel skeleton to squeeze in a service corridor.
Parsons Technology would coordinate work between the architects and the contractors.
“We probably now have complete design plans, but we have incomplete coordination,” Sturtz said.
Glendening asked the Department of General Services, which oversees state construction projects, to review the university’s decisions and predict the center’s ultimate cost.
Though Prince George’s County and private donors have pledged about $13 million for the center, the bulk of the money – about $97 million – will come from the state, Sturtz said.
In other action Tuesday, the Board of Public Works approved a $16.4 million contract for IA Construction Co. of White Marsh, Md., to prepare a 50-acre plot at the Port of Baltimore for a car-processing plant.
IA Construction will pave 40 acres of the former Masonville dump – a repository for ash from South Baltimore’s Cherry Hill incinerator and sludge from the Patapsco River – and build the plant’s processing center, dispatch building and gatehouse.
Florida-based ATC Logistics Inc. plans to use the site to receive imported and exported cars. The board approved leasing the site to ATC for 20 years at its September meeting.
It was a contentious decision, with existing car processors at the port saying the dump was a health hazard and that the state was subsidizing ATC. Glendening said many of the concerns were beyond the board’s realm. “The legislature has approved [developing] the site. … What is the responsibility of the board? The responsibility of the board is to approve contracts,” Glendening said. -30-