The architect for Seale Junior High in Robstown and the Robstown Independent School District Board of Trustees held a contentious discussion last week during the school board's regular meeting.
Raymond Gignac, the district's architect, expressed frustration over several actions taken by board members and district officials to address problems with the construction of the junior high school without informing his office.
Construction began on the $14 million school in 2005 by contractor Azteca Enterprises, Inc., and students were finally allowed to use the new facility in the summer of 2008. Since that time, however, the district has been working with the contractor to resolve a number of issues with the construction.
In March, board president Robert Tapia met with officials from AGCM, Inc., a construction consulting firm, to discuss issues including flooding in the new gym, cracks along walls, broken tiles, and an unfinished wood shop, among others.
Tapia also later met with representatives from Axteca, although Gignac was not asked to attend that meeting, he said.
Gignac said he had learned Tapia has also met with William Holder, a consultant who was involved with a lawsuit filed by the San Diego Independent School District against the contractor who built their high school in 2007.
Gignac said he put little faith in Holder, and the district's best hope to resolve the issues at Seale Junior High were with his office.
"If he's some little angel that came down from heaven to save RISD, then I've got a bridge to sell you," Gignac said. "I'm the guy working for free to protect you from the boogie man."
Before Gignac's presentation last Tuesday, the board also was addressed by Anthony Constant, an attorney who worked on the San Diego ISD lawsuit. Constant was invited to address the board at the request of Interim-Superintendent Roel Lara.
Gignac said that to his knowledge, the construction of Seale Junior High School was "99 percent" complete, and he had not been informed of any additional problems with the facility.
Board member Adolfo Lopez said he was disappointed Tapia was not working with Gignac to address the issues, and said the "chain of command" had been broken.
"I personally want to apologize to you," Lopez said. "This board has been unfair."
Tapia, who was not present at the beginning of Gignac's presentation, but walked into the meeting during the discussion, quickly engaged Gignac in a heated discussion.
"I'm not the problem," Gignac said.
"Basically, sir, you are," Tapia replied.
Following more discussion, the board agreed that a list of items outlining any additional issues with the construction of the school should be submitted to Gignac for review by Friday. The board is expected to continue to address the issues during its next meeting.