Judge nullifies Wayne school board contract for repairs to 100-year-old building

WAYNE — Officials must seek new proposals for a multimillion-dollar renovation to the exterior of Preakness School after a judge decided that the apparent low-bidder erred when it made its initial offer.

The Board of Education approved a $2.7 million contract in May to SMAC Corp. of Saddle Brook, but the award was challenged in state Superior Court by APS Contracting Inc., a construction firm from Paterson.

APS Contracting sued the school board, claiming it was the lowest responsible bidder and that its competitor’s proposal should be tossed out because it did not mention the type of windows to be installed at the century-old building.

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Judge Rudolph Filko ruled from his Paterson bench Friday that the bid submitted by SMAC Corp. was, in fact, “materially deficient” and “nonresponsive” to the project specifications.

“It is difficult for this court to conclude that the failure to provide a mandatory document, which calls for an automatic rejection of the bid, is an immaterial deficiency,” he wrote in a six-page opinion.

The judge permanently restrained the school board from moving forward with its approved contract with SMAC Corp.

“APS’ success at knocking out the low bidder places the ball back in the court of the Wayne board,” said Patrick Collins, an attorney for APS Contracting.

Besides new windows, the project includes brick repointing and a partial roof replacement. The school on Hamburg Turnpike was reopened by the K-12 district in September 2020 as an early childhood center for 3- and 4-year-old students.

The case delayed the project by at least two months, said William Moffitt, the schools business administrator.

Moffitt said a new contract may be awarded by trustees at their public meeting next month. If that happens, he said, crews will try to accelerate the roof work this summer before finishing the masonry in the fall and the installation of windows in the spring.

Philip DeVencentis is a local reporter for NorthJersey.com. For unlimited access to the most important news from your local community, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.

Email: devencentis@northjersey.com

This article originally appeared on NorthJersey.com: Wayne BOE forced to seek new bids for repairs to Preakness School