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NewsHealthPoliticsContractors see no cause for concern at UHL siteBy David Raleigh – August 22, 2019 342 Groundwork gets under way on the site of the new 60 bed unit at UHL last April.A NEW 60-bed unit at University Hospital Limerick (UHL) is expected to be completed by next April, the company behind the €19.5 million project has confirmed to the Limerick Post.This follows confirmation earlier this week that the HSE awarded the contract for the building to Western Building Systems, which built 42 schools, all of which it is claimed have been found to have structural defects.Sign up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter Sign Up Western was awarded the tender earlier this year and signed off on the contract last May.The Department of Education is pursuing legal action against the firm for the cost of remediation of defects discovered at the schools.A UHL spokesman said the 60-bed unit “will be fully compliant with the building regulations”.“The proposal to provide a fast track ward block at UHL was initiated during 2018. Following a public procurement process by the HSE, the successful bidder was Western Building Systems. Funding to progress the project was subsequently included in the HSE Capital Plan 2019,” they said.The contract is “underway and progressing well” and is “anticipated to be completed by Quarter 3 2020 with the new beds envisaged to be operational in time for winter 2020”, the spokesman added.“Strict EU public procurement guidelines” were followed, and, Western “was entitled to bid for the contract and met all the contract criteria”.As the project is “a rapid build”, specialist work of this nature would have precluded some contractors from bidding. The work is being supervised and monitored by a HSE-appointed “technical advisor team” as well as “local HSE Estates staff”.UHL is consistently the most overcrowded hospital in the country, providing the only 24-hour emergency cover for the mid-west region and the spokesman said that the 60-bed unit “will go some way towards addressing the acknowledged lack of bed capacity in the region”.There is as yet no firm commitment to fund a proposed 96-bed unit at UHL.“This project is some years away from delivery”, the UHL spokesman said.Limerick Sinn Féin TD Maurice Quinlivan said: “It is very concerning that a company who is currently being sued by the Department of Education have been awarded the contract for the new ward at University Hospital Limerick.”“We don’t yet know to what extent Western Building Systems was responsible or not, for the building defects found in the 42 schools they built for the State over the past number of years.”“Until these facts are established, I would have assumed current tenders from this company would be under review, and new tenders not accepted, until the full facts are established.“I am extremely concerned that this news could result in delays for the new ward, which is critically needed at UHL,” Deputy Quinlivan added.Former Mayor and current Fianna Fáil general election candidate James Collins, said he felt there were many questions that needed to be answered about the situation.“I’m conscious that the company went through a tendering process and won the contract, but were those adjudicating on that contract fully aware of the issues which have arisen at the 42 schools. We have seen hundreds of schoolchildren nationwide disrupted,” Cllr Collins said.“In some cases, schools have had to shut down. There are outstanding questions in relation to the structural integrity of the work carried out by this company, so we must ask is it right to give them this contract?”“At the very least, the tender award should be reviewed given the large amount of public money at stake, and the significant public interest and public safety issues involved.”A UHL nursing source said they did not want to comment on the circumstances surrounding the awarding of the contract but that they “hope it won’t delay the unit”.A spokeswoman for Western Building Systems said the company, which has operated to 35 years, “continues to be awarded and deliver important public and private contracts in Ireland and the UK including University Hospital Limerick which is set for completion in April 2020”.“These tenders were awarded following extensive procurement processes.” She said that Western had “recently completed work and / or are currently working on other projects, including, Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda; a psychiatric inpatient unit at Beamount Hospital; Roslyn Park College; Greystones National School; Colaiste Cois Life and a number of housing projects”.“We note comments from the HSE last year when it stated ‘there are currently no safety concerns regarding the integrity of its buildings in relation to construction works carried out by Western Buildings Systems at this time’”.“We welcome engagement and cooperation with public contracting partners in respect of all such projects, not least to ensure we avoid a situation whereby projects which are deemed to have met contractual requirements and certified as such by Government Departments and agencies are subsequently not deemed to be.”“We will work with the contracting authorities such as the Health Service Executive in respect of whatever structures they deem appropriate as we have also done up to this point in respect of the school building with the Department of Education.”“In parallel, we will continue to engage with the Department of Education and Skills to ensure the independent report it promised into the schools building programme is delivered with a firm deadline for the publication,” the spokeswoman concluded. 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Tags: BaseballJ_EMarcellusSknaeatelesSolvayWesthill Each of the area’s high school baseball teams within the Onondaga High School League Liberty division has experienced plenty of ups and downs this spring, and consistency has proven elusive.Westhill entered the second half of its regular season at 6-4, but made a loud statement last Wednesday afternoon when it went to Marcellus and whipped the Mustangs 13-2.It didn’t start out lopsided. Despite two runs in the first inning and another in the third, the Warriors were nearly caught when Marcellus scored twice in the bottom of the third, Aiden Shea and Jacob Walters driving in the runs. Aside from Antonio Gonzalez driving home Owen Lansing in the bottom of the fourth, Mustangs pitcher Jack Flynn kept Solvay quiet, holding them to three hits and striking out five while walking four. Gonzalez took the loss.As that went on, Westhill routed Altmar-Parish-Williamstown 18-2, with Nick Bistrovich recording three RBIs as part of a well-balanced lineup. Five others – King, Zollo, Bennett, Herne and Justin Bistrovich – had two RBIs apiece.All three of these teams would lose on Saturday – Westhill shut out 4-0 by Vernon-Verona-Sherrill, all of the Red Devils’ runs coming in the fifth inning, three of them driven home by Blake VanDreason’s double.As that went on, Solvay and Marcellus both lost close decisions to Christian Brothers Academy as the Brothers rallied past the Bearcats 3-2 and topped the Mustangs 5-2Solvay had Alex Gallardo and Carter Lee each get two hits, taking a 1-0 lead in the second inning and then netting a run in the seventh to break out of a 1-1 tie. But CBA answered by tying it again and winning on Kent Wilson’s RBI single.Marcellus had Brody Shanahan and Jack Flynn score first-inning runs, but the 2-0 lead didn’t hold as, again, CBA rallied, tying it with single runs in the third and fifth before Jason Boule’s bases-clearing double in the sixth off Walters, pitching in relief of Jared Sammon, decided the game.Back on Wednesday, Solvay claimed a tough 4-3 win over Homer. A three-run first inning had the Bearcats in front, but the Trojans scored twice in the third and again in the fifth to tie it, 3-3, only to have Solvay regain the lead with a run in the bottom of the fifth.Gallardo and McKyle Sands each hit home runs, combining for three RBIs as Robby Clark also drove in a run. Blaine Franklin and Ethan Bigelow pitched 1 2/3 innings of scoreless relief after Sands started.And after the loss to CBA, Solvay went to Jordan-Elbridge and handled the Eagles 12-2, scoring four times in the first time and then breaking it open with an eight-run sixth inning. Gallardo, with three hits, led the way as 10 different Bearcats drove in a run.J-E had returned to action last Monday and lost, 5-1, to Port Byron/Union Springs, who scored twice in the first inning and then added three runs in the third on hits from Kyle Bailey and Caleb Roden.No one had scored a run on PB/US until the Eagles did so in the top of the sixth, Sean Dristle’s double bringing home Nate Melfi. Yet that was all J-E could manage as Carson Ashby pitche 3 1/3 innings and took the loss, with relief help from Dristle and Ryan Rivenburg.In Thursday’s 2-0 defeat to Homer, the Eagles’ Jordan Osborn traded zeroes with Trojans pitcher Jed Brazo until the Trojans scored twice in the bottom of the sixth. Brazo held J-E to five hits, two of them from Rivenburg, and struck out 11. Osborn had six strikeouts.Also on Thursday, Skaneateles returned to action and shut out Hannibal 10-0 in five innings, James Musso and Cregg Scherrer sharing the pitching duties as they combined to strike out 11 Warrior batters.A four-run third inning and five-run fifth inning accounted for most of the Lakers’ production. Jimmy Liberatore had three RBIs, with Jon Niehbuhr driving in a pair of runs as Nate Wellington added an RBI.Share this:FacebookTwitterLinkedInRedditComment on this Story From there, though, Philip Zollo settled down and, along with reliever Jack Knapp, blanked the Mustangs the rest of the way, the help arriving in the form of five-run rallies in the fifth and seventh innings.Ben Coates hit a home run and finished with four RBIs. Nate King and Jake Zawadzki each had three hits, with King, Ryan Bennett and Adam Herne driving in two runs apiece. Zollo scored three runs and Walker Blossey added an RBI.Marcellus recovered from this on Thursday in a big way by defeating Solvay 4-1, getting all the runs it needed when it scored twice in the first and third innings, with Shea scoring twice as he, along with Walters and Ryan Worden, drove in the runs.