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A Copley Newspaper
Serving Central Illinois

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CDB to recoup excess museum, library costs

Published Friday, September 16, 2005

State construction officials will try to recoup $10 million to $15 million in excess charges they said were run up by contractors building the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.

The Capital Development Board, which oversees non-road state construction projects, will negotiate with the architect, primary contractor and display designer in an attempt to recover the money.

The amount of the added costs was contained in a preliminary report given to CDB members this week. A Chicago law firm prepared the report.

"The board members studied the analyst's report and advised staff to begin negotiations with the three parties," Jan Grimes, acting executive director of the CDB, said Thursday. "We are sorting the added costs to determine their cause and assign responsibility."

Three firms are involved in the dispute: BRC Imagination Arts of California, which designed the museum displays; Hellmuth, Obata (plus) Kassabaum Inc., the project architect; and Siciliano Inc. of Springfield, the general contractor.

Siciliano president Rick Lawrence said his company "doesn't have a clue about what the issues are."

"We are extremely proud to have been involved in the library project," Lawrence said. "I'm discouraged that it has developed into this situation. We will work with them any way we can to bring it to an amicable conclusion."

In a written statement, the architect said, "HOK has been honored to plan an active role in the creation of this landmark project and we will continue to work closely with the Capital Development Board to resolve any outstanding issues."sues."

BRC Imagination Arts did not return a phone call seeking comment.

The excess costs were blamed on alleged design and construction defects and delivery delays. A major problem involved the temperature and humidity levels in the library that houses fragile documents. Some components of the system were found to be improperly designed and installed and had to be replaced.

Siciliano previously said some delays were caused by the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that disrupted shipments of exterior stones.

The $10 million to $15 million in questioned expenses could increase as officials continue to analyze the library and museum construction expenses. There is no timetable for completing the analysis.

Doug Finke can be reached at 788-1527 or doug.finke@sj-r.com.

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