ConVal sues over losses due to unusable tents

  • An aerial view of ConVal High School shows some of the school's outdoor tent classrooms. Photo by Swift Corwin

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 10/7/2020 5:45:12 PM

ConVal is suing Monadnock Tent and Event to recoup financial losses after some of the tents the company was contracted to set up couldn’t meet state safety standards.

The lawsuit seeks $220,236.99 in total damages, according to a press release from ConVal on Wednesday, when the suit was filed. That amount covers money spent on tents that were not able to receive permits, labor costs, engineering costs, and electrical work, according to the statement.  The contract for the 80 or so tents Monadnock Tent and Event set up throughout the district cost about $480,000, as reported in September.

“This lawsuit is meant to hold Monadnock Tent and Event responsible for their failure to live up to the responsibility of ensuring that the tents provided to the district could be permitted for use,” Superintendent Kimberly Rizzo Saunders said. “This failure resulted in significant disruptions to the start of the school year, putting an increased burden on our staff, students, and their families during an already challenging time. After a good faith effort on our part to resolve this issue, this step is a last resort for the district as we work to recoup the taxpayer funding that went toward tents that we were ultimately unable to use.”

As reported previously, trouble arose in September after the tents had been set up, when nobody was able to track down the engineering documentation required by the state for any tent larger than 400 square feet set up in a public or commercial space. Some of those larger tents were already wired for internet and electricity, but the ones that ultimately couldn’t be certified were removed and replaced with smaller tents the School District bought, according to a September communication to families from the District.

“The permitting challenges were created by the vendor’s inability to provide the necessary data, certificates, and other required documentation to the necessary authorities per the contract and the representations made by the vendor,” the ConVal statement read.

Monadnock Tent and Event owner John Hopkins could not be reached immediately for comment.

As of this week, ConVal is able to fully implement its reopening plan, with all elementary and middle school students signed up for in-person learning attending, and high schoolers alternating weeks between remote and in-person learning.


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