I had interviewed Richard Bozman the week before. Ken Smith of building services and John Jenkins, Chairman of the board sat in on the interview. To say I was impressed was an understatement. He had credentials above and beyond anything we would need here.
He was certified by the NRC as a construction supervisor and project auditor inside the dome of a nuclear power plant and by the Interior Department for hydroelectric projects. He had even been the construction supervisor for a skyscraper in Hong Kong.
He found error after error in the blue prints and materials list. And that was on the first few pages.
His explanation made sense when he explained it for us laymen. The architects were paid by percentage on the total cost of the project including cost over runs. The builder was awarded the job based on low bid. Any changes to the building plans after the project was awarded was considered an exception and billed at a premium rate, sometimes 300 percent above the bid rate.
To make matters worse any materials ordered for that grid of the project simply disappeared even if that grid was stopped before the first nail was driven, usually to another job site the builder was running or returned for credit to the builders account and not to the project account. The materials were ordered by the grid off the blueprints based on the order of construction. They didn’t want roof trusses sitting on the job site for a year. They wanted on time deliveries as the materials were needed. Some builders kicked back a portion of this to the architects to guarantee that there were mistakes that would fall into the extra category. This was where the real money was made and big projects cost overruns.
A week later Mr. Bozman requested that I meet with him. He had identified 1.4 million dollars worth of these areas in the site work and the first stage of the building. The site work was for both dorms and the first stage included the foundation for the first dorm. He estimated that we could save 4 million over the entire project by eliminating the overlaps that would have to be corrected by exceptions to the contract.
The meeting needed to include more than just me. This problem needed someone with more authority than I had. If the issues couldn’t be resolved then someone needed to shut the project down. Blueprints needed to be redrawn to eliminate the issues, then the project needed to be rebid.
To resolve this I scheduled an emergency meeting for the next morning with the board for Mr. Bozman to present his case.
Almost as an afterthought I instructed Patti to do a complete investigation of the builder, the architectural firm and the building committee to see if we found any conflicts or connections among the companies or their management before the meeting.
After lunch I received a call from the Director of Athletics requesting an immediate meeting. I didn’t have anything scheduled for the rest of the afternoon. I agreed to meet in 30 minutes.
Director Jeff Blades and his six coaches showed up for the meeting on time. They had serious concerns about the safety of their players at away games as well players and spectators at home games.
With the recent events at the Boston Marathon and events at other colleges they requested security be beefed up. They wanted security to send a chaperon on each bus and if necessary to stay with the teams on overnight trips. The coach and another educator always stayed on overnight trips but they now felt that more security people were needed.
“You have valid points but you have to understand that there are challenges that are going to be difficult to overcome. As you know most educational facilities are gun free zones. Most laws state even local law enforcement can’t carry a gun on the grounds of those colleges,” I said.
“To even start I would need to do a security profile of each college that you are going to, where your players are staying. From that I can decide what kind of resources we need to supply,” I said.
“How many busses do you normally take on a trip?” I asked.
“Each sport needs two buses per team,” Director Blades replied. “There are several times a year that we are playing more than one sport at a time.”
“Then you would only need 8 of my people at a time to go on trips “I said.
“Yes, that is right,” he said.
“Have you considered that almost all of the problems this year have been with bus accidents carrying athletes to and from meets?” I asked. Then I added “I think we really need to take a look the bus contractors and drivers. I have seen some of the drivers that are in their 80’s. I think that is just pushing the limit especially on long trips at night.”
“You are most likely right that there is lot more that we need to do” he replied.
“Write it up as a formal request and I will send it up the ladder, in the meantime put together a list of all the events and locations and I’ll work on the logistics. I will also look into the bus thing,” I said.
Finding qualified people to do such a limited amount of work is going to be tough. There is no way I can put them on and give them enough part time work to survive. Local games were no problem. But the away games that could tie up two days would interfere with a full time job anyone had.
The request if approved would present a few problems with manpower being the biggest one. The logistical problems would be the next.
All things considered I still was more concerned about the transportation part. There had been many more students killed and injured in buses and vans going to and from sporting events than there had been at the event. Now after Boston there would be plenty of police presence at the events.
The really weak spot would be in route – hijack a bus or buses stopped for lunch or place a bomb under it with a timer. Something as simple as loosening a valve core on a front tire to disable it on the highway would also make it easy. Then a mason jar or a zip lock bag of gas thrown in the front and rear door and a flare gun available at every boating supply shop in America and everyone on board perishes in seconds.
Hell, even local school buses on country roads were easy targets. They stopped at every house, intersection and every railroad crossing. They would be impossible to protect. The law forbids the doors be locked on them. There are thousands on the road every day.
With a red two gallon plastic gas can and a ten dollar visa gift card a person could by gas at a million locations in the USA, no questions asked. Maybe I had spent to much time in poor countries where such improvised devices were the norm.
The threat to the air traveler had been practically eliminated because of the TSA. Now air travelers were more at risk from the TSA than suicide bombers.
With the Boston thing they had blown their chance for the really big kill numbers, possibly because they were unwilling to meet Allah. Was it because they had been in America so long and the philosophy to be able to fight another day had rubbed off on them?
In the process they had alerted us to a major weakness. We knew it existed but no one was willing to spend the resources until a need was proven. Now the proof had hit us in the face.
This whole sad state of things is just beginning. We have allowed millions to come here over the past decade. They all have been taught their whole lifetime that nonbelievers were to be killed and the reward for doing so was honey and virgins. Now even their most powerful Imams were calling for American Jihad. There would no better way to put fear in the heartland than several bus loads of children killed every day.
I had plenty of things to think about on the drive home. One thing was for certain – big changes were going to be added to the girls training routine. It was time to add some offensive training as well.
Edit by Alfmeister