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Locker rooms at Strongsville rec center still aren’t done and the city has moved to fire the contractor

December 14, 2017 GMT

Locker rooms at Strongsville rec center still aren’t done and the city has moved to fire the contractor

STRONGSVILLE, Ohio --The swimming pool locker rooms at the Ehrnfelt Recreation Center in Strongsville still aren’t finished and city officials have finally had enough. The city has moved to take control of the project from the contractor they hired in March.

The Plain Dealer reported last month that the $662,750 contract to renovate four locker rooms, two poolside on the lower level and two on the rec center’s main level, had been awarded to Alabasi Construction, Inc. of Cleveland.

The contract called for all four locker rooms to be finished within six months. But the deadline came and went and two under-construction locker rooms weren’t finished and construction hadn’t even begun on two others.

As The Plain Dealer reported last month, the city agreed to an extension with Alabasi, making Dec. 8 the new deadline. In November, Kim Alabasi of Alabasi construction blamed delays on the unavailability of a specific kind of tile and other factors common on construction jobs.

But Dec. 8 came and the first two locker rooms still were not completed.

Law Director Neil Jamison said on Dec. 9, the city sent a letter to Alabasi declaring its intention to take control of the project, canceling the contract.

Messages from The Plain Dealer for Kim Alabasi, who has represented the company in contractor meetings with the city, were not returned. Her husband, Hayder Alabasi, is the company president.

“Under the contract, we have to give them written notice within ten days that we intend to terminate,” said Jamison. “Then it’s our option to go forward and do it.”

Once the city takes over, Jamison said, its expected the project will be put on the fast track. Users of the rec center say they’ve heard a rumor that the lower locker rooms won’t be completed until February.

“I would anticipate it will be done well before that,” said Jamison. “We’ll have to evaluate that once we get in there. I was in there this week and it’s pretty close, but it’s not something where we can let the public in there yet.”

Jamison said it still needs to be determined how much money Alabasi is entitled to (there isa $1000-a-day penalty clause) and acknowledged the matter may end up in court, something the city had been trying to avoid by agreeing to deadline extensions and working with the contractor to get the job finished.

Until the job is finished, swimmers still will have to walk up the stairs and on carpet runners to the main-level locker rooms.