Bubble conflict continues in WOSD

West Orange High School athletic bubble

WEST ORANGE, NJ — The conflict between the manufacturer of the air structure at West Orange High School known as the “bubble” and the district is ongoing, delaying the completion of the practice and locker room facility. At an Aug. 26 Board of Education meeting, architect Tony Catana of the Spiezle Architectural Group said the firm and the district would be consulting lawyers to find out if the work could be expedited.

According to Catana, the athletic facility was supposed to be completed at the beginning of August. The main reason it is not is that the manufacturer of the bubble material, Arizon Building Systems, is not being cooperative with the contractor who is building the interior of the bubble, Catana said at a BOE meeting on Aug. 12.

“They refuse to make the penetrations that need to be made in the bubble for him to complete his work,” Catana said about the dispute between the contractor and Arizon. According to Catana, the manufacturer is the only one who can make cuts for openings and duct work into the material of the bubble or the warranty on the structure would be voided. Catana said the company is asking to be paid for this work even though, according to the contractor’s plans, this work is included in the agreed-upon price.

In a phone interview with the West Orange Chronicle on Aug. 30, Arizon business development manager Max Havens said the contractor requested work of the manufacturer for air conditioning ventilation in August. Havens said that Arizon, which is based in St. Louis, would have to make those penetrations, but everything else is on the contractor and school district.

“They added air conditioning and came to us in the last few weeks,” Havens said. “We would have to make those penetrations. Anything else is not within our system. We had already finished our scope of work.”

Arizon project manager Nathan Hay said in a phone interview with the Chronicle on Aug. 30 that the air structure’s dome has been up since January, and the rest of the work can be completed as planned.

“That would be on them to do what they’re doing there,” Hay said.

Catana did not return a request for comment by press time on Sept. 3.