Rowland sets aside $10 million
for UConn law school library repairs
February 5, 2004
HARTFORD, Conn. -- Fixing the granite facade of the University of Connecticut
law school library is expected to cost $10 million, a bill that would be picked
up by the state under Gov. John G. Rowland's proposed budget.
The library has been covered in scaffolding for the past year after a report by
an independent architectural firm discovered shoddy workmanship that left the
signature facade so vulnerable it could blow off in a heavy windstorm.
University and state officials have been investigating who is responsible: the
architects, the company that supplied the contractors, the masons who installed
the stone or the state Department of Public Works, which oversaw the entire
Rowland's budget director, Marc Ryan, said repairs need to be made to preserve
the $24 million building, which was completed seven years ago.
"We made a decision here," Ryan said. "We know enough about the
building. We documented enough."
While no legal actions have been filed, Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said
Thursday that his office is nearing the end of its investigation and expects
legal action in the near future.
Blumenthal said he supported the funding allocation to protect the building from
more damage, but added that he was also working to pursue those responsible and
recoup the money.
"The responsibility may well belong to more than one party," he said.
"The people of Connecticut have a right to expect better construction than
was done in this building."
University spokeswoman Karen Grava said the Department of Public Works oversaw
the construction of the building, but the university has since been granted
power by the legislature to manage its own projects.
While the university will oversee the repairs, there is no timetable for repair
work to begin, she said. Initial estimates said the repairs would take two years
Grava said university officials have been meeting with the parties involved over
the past year, and another report on the building's condition is due out in a
The university hired Hoffman Architects, a North Haven firm, to review the work
because it was dissatisfied with the Department of Public Works' response to
complaints about chronic leaks, the dean of the law school, Nell Jessup Newton,
The firm, which released its report in late 2002, cited problems such as an
ineffective system to bond the stone to the building and the use of inferior
material, including scrap pieces of tarp, as waterproofing.
The S/L/A/M Collaborative of Glastonbury was the architectural firm that
designed the library building. The firm has said that it worked with UConn
officials to correct water leakage problems.
The subcontractor in charge of the granite work was Lombardo Brothers Mason
Contractors of Hartford. A message was left with the company Thursday night.
Quality-control responsibility rested with the three groups overseeing the
library job - general contractors Gilbane Building Co. and Arborio Corp;
S/L/A/M; and the state Department of Public Works, the developer.
Representatives of all three groups have said that they had assigned
quality-control supervisors to the construction site in 1994 when work started.