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Dartmouth claims ‘negligent construction’ over roof work on alumni gym

HANOVER — Dartmouth College has sued North Branch Construction of Concord over what the college claims was shoddy roof work during a $12 million reconstruction of its alumni gymnasium.

The project was completed in January 2006, with the ceiling to be sprayed with foam insulation and covered with gypsum boards and allowing for no ventilation or separation between the foam and roof rafters. But in February 2007, large ceiling panels in a mechanical room fell, “exposing extensive cracking and separation of the (foam) from the rafters,” the suit alleges.

Dartmouth alleges that the failures of the foam and the gypsum board panels, the moisture condensation staining and structural deterioration in the building’s pool area resulted from what it called “negligent design” by an architect, Lavallee Brensinger Professional Association, compounded by and in combination with North Branch Construction’s “negligent construction.”

Lavallee contends that it is not liable for damages because Dartmouth changed its design for the roof from a slate roof to copper.

On March 24, Merrimack County Superior Court Justice Richard McNamara issued several orders regarding expert witnesses and indicated that a trial was set for April 15.

On its website, North Branch said it received the Merit Award at the Associated Builders and Contractors Excellence in Construction ceremony in October 2007 for the project.

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