The Academy ended a four year-long lawsuit in a favorable settlement this past August. Skidmore, Owens and Merrill (SOM), the architects of the Koch Center, have paid a significant sum of money that was divided between Deerfield Academy and the Gilbane Company, the construction manager of the Koch Center project. The exact sum is not available because of legal issue.
Deerfield sued the architecture company because of several design-oriented issues with the building, according to Chief Financial Officer Joseph Manory.
In August 2008, the Academy also favorably settled a related dispute with the Gilbane Company.
Deerfield has already improved elements of the building since its opening in spring 2007. Most notably, water seeped through the brick caps atop the site and parapet walls, causing efflorescent stains on walls. In 2008, with the building surrounded by scaffolding, granite caps were added to prevent further water penetration into the walls and future staining. The then existing efflorescent stains were also cleaned.
Mr. Manory, along with Head of School Margarita Curtis, President of the Board of Trustees Phil Greer, Chair of the Buildings and Grounds Committee and Board Member Sam Bronfman, and Board Member Luke Terry oversaw the out-of-court settlement of the dispute.
The proceeds from the settlement will fund the improvements, which also include strengthening the “crash bars” on the front doors. These changes will be implemented in 2010, and the Academy has retained Architectural Resources Cambridge to assist with the planning.
The Koch Center project was not the first time Deerfield employed Skidmore, Owens, and Merrill. The internationally-renowned architecture firm was involved with the design of the natatorium, and the Louis Marx and John Louis dormitories.
“It’s important not to lose sight of what has been gained…we have a state-of- the- art building for future generations; it is a signature building for Deerfield, and it has fostered a collaborative approach to teaching and programmatic innovations,” said Dr. Curtis.
These include an inquiry-based 9th grade physics course; a new Game Theory seminar for approximately twenty members of the faculty, including the whole math department, and the integration of science, math and technology within its walls.
Other exciting new programs and research projects will now become possible because of the Koch Center.
In fact, the Eight School Association chose to host its science department symposium at Deerfield because of the unique setting the Koch Center provides. The conference will be held on November 2nd. As Dr. Curtis explained, “This is where the other schools wanted to be.”
Mr. Manory said, “Unfortunately I had to get lawyers involved to get it all done and taken care of. But at the end of the day we’re still left with a great building.”