Profile Meets Some Goals In School Projects
March 22, 2005
By RACHEL GOTTLIEB, Courant Staff Writer
A study, conducted by
Diggs Construction, of five Hartford schools under renovation
showed that all of the projects are exceeding the city's goal
of giving at least 15 percent of the work to women- and minority-owned
Overall, 32.9 percent of the work is going to women and minorities.
But all except one of the construction managers is falling short
of the goal to set aside 30 percent of the jobs for Hartford
residents. The overall participation of city residents is 16.2
The actual numbers could be higher, said James Keaney, program
director at Diggs, but none of the five construction managers
has submitted complete lists of payroll employees for the log
Diggs is maintaining.
Council member Veronica Airey-Wilson, who is a member of the
school building committee, asked whether the construction managers
are taking the request for complete information about employees
seriously. Keaney said that they are taking the log seriously
and that he recently sent a letter to each of them notifying
them that the city would withhold payment from them if they don't
complete their logs.
And since 85 percent of the work at the schools is reserved
for union labor, Keaney said he's contacting the unions and making
it clear to them that he expects them to increase the number
of Hartford residents on the job at Hartford Public High School
and Naylor, Burr, Rawson and Noah Webster elementary schools.
Finally, Keaney said, the construction work is just six months
into the cycle so there's time to change the workforce profile.
In a vote of confidence in the work Diggs is doing overseeing
schools, the committee voted unanimously to expand Diggs' responsibility
to oversee preconstruction work on the next three magnet schools
in the pipeline: University High School, Sport and Medical Sciences
Academy and Pathways to Technology. The committee accepted Diggs'
request for $990,000 for the assignment, which runs through April,
Last year, when the building committee replaced Konover Construction
at Hartford Public, Mayor Eddie A. Perez, who is chairman of
the building committee, indicated that he was taking a hard look
at Diggs, too. Diggs has since replaced its top management and
hired people with considerable experience in the state.
In other business, the committee
voted to develop state grant applications to renovate West
Middle, Kinsella and Annie Fisher elementary schools. Kinsella
is slated to convert to a magnet school focusing on early childhood
education and Annie Fisher is to become a magnet school with
a "multiple intelligences" theme
similar to the University of Hartford Magnet School.
Committee member Elizabeth Brad Noel, who is also a school board
member, objected to developing state grant applications before
the city planning department completes a study on the district's
space needs. Committee member Robert E. Long, who also is chairman
of the school board, strenuously objected to Noel's attempt to
delay work on the schools, saying that the school board voted
to proceed with the plan the way it is.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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