Lauderdale firm will pay $1.56M to end design fight

North Andrews Gardens Elementary School
North Andrews Gardens Elementary School

A Fort Lauderdale architecture firm will pay $1.56 million to the Broward County School District to settle a dispute over the design of an elementary school.

Without admitting any fault, Saltz Michelson Architects agreed to pay $1.56 million to cover expenses to improve fire safety at North Andrews Gardens Elementary School in Oakland Park.

In 1999, the Broward school district hired Saltz Michelson to design a $7.3 million renovation and expansion of two buildings that comprise the elementary school.

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In 2003, the year after construction began, a school district inspector found that the design of the two building violated the state fire code. Among other problems cited, the inspector determined that the second-floor ceilings lacked fireproofing.

Multiple construction-change orders ensued, adding more than $1 million to the total cost of the elementary school project, but district inspectors said the school still failed to meet the state fire code.

The Broward school district filed a lawsuit against Saltz Michelson in 2008, claiming errors and omissions flawed the firm’s design of the school.

Saltz Michelson contended its design complied with state standards and the school district approved the design without objection. [Sun-Sentinel] — Mike Seemuth