FARGO — North Dakota State University will pay $163,609 to a construction company that alleged in a $1.3 million lawsuit that the school forced the contractor to rush a STEM building project.
But because of confidentiality clauses in the settlement, it's unknown what seven other defendants owe Roers Construction.
NDSU released documents detailing its settlement with Roers, which sued the school, the State Board of Higher Education and others in January 2018. No parties admit fault in the agreement, but NDSU will first pay Roers $38,609.
The remaining $125,000 must be approved by the North Dakota Legislature when lawmakers meet again in 2021.
“NDSU is pleased with the outcome, as the settlement is less than the cost of moving forward with litigation,” university spokeswoman Laura McDaniel wrote in an email. “If the Legislature does not authorize and appropriate this payment, the settlement remains in full force and effect.”
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The settlement said no one can disclose the amounts the seven other defendants paid Roers. Aaron Dean, a lead attorney for the construction company, said he was not allowed to comment on the lawsuit, other than to say the parties "amicably resolved their differences."
Roers claimed it incurred extra costs to finish the A. Glenn Hill Center, 1306 Centennial Blvd., in December 2015. Designs for the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) building were poor, Roers alleged, which caused significant delays, court documents said.
The project was months behind schedule in the summer of 2015 when NDSU unexpectedly told Roers the building had to be ready for a Dec. 10, 2015, dedication ceremony, the company said. The center opened in January 2016.
NDSU motioned for the case to be dismissed, arguing Roers was too late in filing a claim seeking a payment for additional costs.
The lawsuit was slated for trial in late April, but the State Board of Higher Education approved the settlement on Tuesday, Dec. 3, roughly a month after Roers signed the agreement.