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School Opens After Rush Construction Job

Work done in time for first day of classes at Lincoln Elementary in River Forest.

Classes at Lincoln Elementary School in River Forest were able to start on schedule Tuesday despite a strike-related setback on a construction project during the summer.

The strike from July 1 to July 21 by the Union of Operating Local Engineers 150 put many school and roadway construction projects in the Chicago area on hold. At Lincoln, Happ Builders was in the middle of relocating the school's office and converting the old office into classrooms and a conference room.

Faced with the possibility of not being able to open on time, the District 90 School Board severed its $390,000 contract with Happ on July 16 and turned the project over to non-union Eigel Builders to finish the job for $162,000. Happ was to be paid $116,000 for the work already done.

When Eigel informed the school that it could not finish the project on time and with the labor strike was settled, the district signed a new contract with Happ on July 26 with a 10 percent increase of its original bid to have the work expedited.

Anthony Cozzi, Distict 90 business manager, said apart from a few minor "punch list" of items to be completed, Happ was able to finish the job on time.

"We have some punch list items but nothing that is even worth commenting on," Cozzi said. "If you didn't know that there was a punch list, you'd think everything was done."

Cozzi said Eigle put in one day of work at the school, doing a small amount of plumbing, but said he could not put a dollar figure on a bill since one had not been submitted.

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