Guam Museum Construction Behind Schedule

admin's picture

$27 million project hits snag with damaged foundation piles

By Gaynor Dumat-ol Daleno

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, June 13, 2014) – The government of Guam $27 million museum project won't meet its end-of-the-year completion goal.

The Guam Economic Development Authority, which oversees the project, yesterday confirmed the completion date has been pushed back to possibly May next year. The project has encountered a snag in the installation of pile foundations.

"We do have some issues on site on some of the pilings," Larry Toves, a GEDA coordinator for the project, said.

When asked about the details of the snag, he said questions would be answered by email.

In an email sent to Pacific Daily News late yesterday evening, Toves said it was discovered that the piles were "damaged" or "potentially damaged" while the construction company, Inland Builders, drove them into the ground.

"We figured a construction company would know how to drive piles into the earth," he said. "It's one of the things they do."

Inland Builders could not be reached for comment.

Toves added that the issues with the pilings would raise the cost of construction, but taxpayers won't be burdened.

GovGuam borrowed money from bond investors to pay for the project, which will be repaid with hotel room tax collections.

"(The project) is obviously gonna be delayed; our schedule is looking more like May 2015," Toves said.

Toves said in an email the construction project is 35-percent complete, and there's a provision in the contract for liquidated damages. The contractor could pay $1,500 a day, he said.

Soft ground

Pile foundations are concrete columns that are driven into the ground to support a structure that would be built on weak soil layers, a Federal Highway Safety report states.

The site of the museum project, located at Skinner Plaza, is part of what once was swamp land in the Hagåtña area, Guam legislative records show.

A pile foundation is driven into the ground using heavy equipment that functions like a large hammer. For weeks, offices, businesses and residents in the Hagåtña neighborhood near the museum construction site heard heavy equipment pounding into the ground. Yesterday, the construction site didn't have that sound.

GEDA is working with the construction contractor, Inland Builders, to try to resolve the pile foundation issues, Toves said. Inland received the $15.3 million contract for the museum construction after a competitive bid.

A report by the Office of Public Accountability states the museum project has a total budget of $27 million, with design and other pre-construction costs and other expenses factored in.

Architecture firm Laguana and Cristobal received a $2 million contract, while RW Armstrong Consulting received a $1.69 million design consulting contract, the audit report shows.

Project permitted

Department of Public Works Director Carl Dominguez said DPW approved the museum project's building permit, which was a prerequisite for the project to start. The approval was based on submission of a plan showing the integrity of the structure when built, Dominguez said.

A geo-technical testing report, showing tests on soil samples from drilling underground, was also submitted to Public Works as part of the building permit approval process, he said. Information from the report was used as a basis for the size of the building that would be constructed on that site, Dominguez said.

"We permitted the project, ... and that is because our engineers didn't see anything out of the ordinary," Dominguez said.

The Guam Museum is a division under the Department of Chamorro Affairs. Joseph Cameron, president of the Department of Chamorro Affairs, declined to discuss the museum project yesterday.

An earlier Guam Museum was built in 1932, but was destroyed during World War II. Some of the artifacts from the museum were dispatched for safekeeping to other museums and private collectors around the world, according to a website on the project.

The new museum will be called the Guam and Chamorro Educational Facility.

Today, Guam's artifacts are in warehouses on island or off island until an adequate facility is available. Some of Guam's artifacts are in Rome; Madrid; Acapulco, Mexico; Washington, D.C.; Annapolis, Md.; Manila and Cebu, Philippines; and Honolulu, the website for the museum states.

Rate this article: 
No votes yet

Add new comment