District is being sued to stop Lot C construction; board of trustees rejects $900,000 change order proposal

The community around El Camino Village has united to sue the college district in an attempt to stop construction on the Lot C parking structure and the board of trustees rejected a $900,000 change order in today’s special meeting.

Construction on Lot C began to create more parking spots for students and was expected to be completed within the next year but after members of the public expressed concerns at the last board of trustees meeting, the prospect of completion has become unknown.

“My personal mission is to have the structure demolished or at least reduced in size,” former El Camino student Matthew Skinner said at the last meeting.

Following Skinner’s comments; other community members were quite angry with the size of the parking structure, saying that construction workers can see into the backyards of the houses and that there are privacy issues.

Due to the discontent of the community, on Oct. 17 there will be a hearing with a judge about legal procedures in which the school may have to halt construction on Lot C until a resolution is made.

Board president Ken Brown was asked about the hearing; but Dena Maloney, president of EC, informed Brown that litigation (legal procedures) is not necessarily “public knowledge.”

Before tonight’s board meeting, there was a closed session on the topic of an approximated $900,000 change order coordinated by Lendlease, which would be necessary if the judge rules against the district to stop construction for at least three to six-months.

A change order is a unilateral written order by a project owner, which directs the contractor to change contract amount, requirements, or time, according to BusinessDictionary.com.

If the construction on Lot C stops, the original plan for the parking lot will be thrown off-kilter and there will be no guarantee that it will finish within the next year.

An El Camino representative said that suing the district is merely a strategy that would stop construction until a ruling is made.

Vice president John Vargas stepped in to address that the discussion should not be made public knowledge as several comments prior were, insinuating that Lendlease’s representative already gave a little more information than he should have.

Although the closed session took about an hour, the rejection of the proposal lasted 30 seconds:

  • Student trustee Nicole Mardesich abstained (due to not having enough information of the situation).
  • Secretary Cliff Numark abstained (due to his absence from the meeting).
  • In order, trustees Bill Beverly, Mary Combs, Vargas and Brown all voted no on the change order.

“I appreciate the work that’s been done, especially done under a pressed-time schedule,” Beverly said. “But I’m worried about the expenditure of close to a million dollars.”