EAST LIVERPOOL - Law firms will now be doing the talking for the city school district and a local architectural firm in all matters regarding the Patterson Field improvement project.
At the urging of member Richard Wolf, the board Monday night voted to halt all conversation with A&I Studios, which has retained an attorney regarding the controversial project.
Board President Janice Martin said she has still been receiving emails from A&I Director Pennie Zehnder and questioned whether the board should vote formally to end all conversation with the firm.
It was agreed to inform A&I that any further communication about the project will be between their attorney and the district's legal firm Brickler & Eckler.
After the meeting, Superintendent James Herring said the architectural firm sought legal advice regarding the work being done on the project and compensation, without offering any additional details.
Martin claimed that a majority of the project cost had been paid while only a portion of it has been completed.
Architect Scott Shepherd disagreed after the meeting, saying his firm has worked daily on the renovation project but has not been paid since July of last year.
Shepherd said he is "disappointed" the board took such action, saying, "A&I has an attorney as part of its business practice to advise us on this project as well as others. We have an attorney to make sure we're doing the right thing."
He said no legal action has been taken, nor is there any intention of taking legal action against the district.
"Once again, the board is spending taxpayer dollars on something when we could have communicated and resolved this. This should have been communicated to us instead of the media," Shepherd said.
The project is well under way at this point, and Shepherd said it should be completed by the end of July. Herring estimated the completion date as closer to the beginning or middle of August, but said it will be ready for the upcoming football season.
In a related matter, Herring showed the board a sample of the material that will be used for the sidelines at the stadium, which he said allows water and air through, not destroying the grass as carpet does.
The material has a five-year guarantee and is being used by other school districts, he advised, saying indoor-outdoor carpet would cost nearly as much.