Contractors seek payment for Iowa football project

By RYAN J. FOLEY

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) a¿¿ More than a year after its completion, several companies that helped build the University of Iowa's new indoor football practice facility say they are still owed money for their work.

Four subcontractors have filed claims in state court in recent weeks alleging the project's general manager, the Samuels Group Inc. of Wausau, Wis., owes them a total of more than $1.5 million, records show.

In a separate federal lawsuit, the Samuels Group argues that it should not have to pay some of the companies because they delivered and installed metal panels that did not initially meet specifications, causing delays and extra costs. And in October, Samuels filed a claim asking the university for an additional $105,000.

State and federal judges are expected to sort out the claims in the coming months. The litigation follows a project that has been hailed by the football team, which was competing in the Outback Bowl on Wednesday, for improving their practice environment.

The facility, completed in August 2012, replaced a 25-year-old campus landmark nicknamed "the Bubble" for its inflatable white cover. It features a metal roof and panels that allow daylight inside and a full-length football field with artificial turf.

The building and the renovation of a nearby outdoor practice area were the first phase in a $55 million project to upgrade the team's practice, training, meeting and office space.

The Samuels Group won a competitive bidding process to land a $12.4 million contract to manage the project. Samuels in turn hired subcontractors, some of whom also hired additional subcontractors. In all, 10 companies worked on the project, which started in 2011.

In the federal lawsuit filed in August 2012, the Samuels Group claims that some problems started after it hired Guilford Building Systems of North Carolina to provide and install metal wall panels. Guilford hired Florida-based Kingspan Insulated Panels to manufacture them.

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