Friday, November 11, 2011

Board Fires Corner Lot Construction Firm

One year ago this week, donning pressed suits and ill-fitting construction hard hats, the previous Southwestern College Governing Board broke ground to celebrate the start of construction on the $389 million Proposition R project on the infamous “corner lot.” A seven-acre dirt and gravel field on Chula Vista’s busiest intersection, the lot has remained empty for five decades. In the 12 months since then, the only meaningful activity on the property was seasonal vendors selling pumpkins in October and Christmas trees in December.

Pumpkin Patch: the only work being done / Photo: Serina Duarte
With the pumpkin patch up and running again this year, the current governing board unknowing marked the anniversary of the groundbreaking by firing Escondido-based Echo Pacific Construction, the firm contracted to provide construction management for most of the Prop R project. Echo Pacific, however, continued on as if it was business as usual.

SWC Director of Facilities John Brown confirmed the board action to fire Echo Pacific. The firm would continue to be part of the Proposition AA project, he said, but the board was already seeking its replacement for Prop R work.

“A recommendation was made at the October 12, 2011 governing board meeting by staff to open negotiations with the number two ranked firm, Balfour Beatty [formerly known as Barnhart Balfour Beatty],” Brown said.