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Local News

Construction Back on Track for UCSB’s Ocean Sciences Building

$6.5 million project had been halted after troubled Melchiori Construction Co. was removed as the contractor

A UCSB project that had been stalled for months last year due a dispute with the contractor is under way again under the management of a new general contractor.

Construction of the university’s Ocean Sciences Education Building, which sits at the corner of Lagoon and UCen roads, was halted last year when local contractor Melchiori Construction Co. was removed from the $6.5 million project.

Construction was to have been completed in August 2011, but when the work went unfinished after being months behind schedule, the university terminated the Melchiori contact last April.

Noozhawk checked in with George Foulsham, UCSB director of news and media relations, this week to get the latest on the construction activity.

“After the termination of the first contract, the surety/bonding company obtained bids for the completion of the contact on the building, in accordance with the terms and conditions,” he said. “The company also arranged for a new contract between the accepted bidder, McGillivray Construction Inc. of Ventura, and the regents of the University of California.”

Foulsham said construction by McGillivray began at the end of November 2012.

The offices in the building, which will house the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary headquarters, are scheduled to open in June, he said.

While the project moves forward under a new contractor, Melchiori owner Mark Melchiori continues to be the subject of a criminal probe for his business dealings.

The company’s Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing revealed 170 creditors, many of whom are subcontractors of the company, that are still owed money, and several lawsuits allege that Melchiori may be hiding assets via a divorce agreement processed last year.

Several former employees are listed among the creditors in the bankruptcy filing, claiming that they were asked to borrow from their company retirement accounts to help the company make payroll.

No criminal complaint against Melchiori has been received by the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office at this point.

“Our office is still waiting for the final report from the Sheriff’s Department,” said Gary Gemberling, deputy district attorney.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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