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Controversy Over Old Job Costs Hardin Construction New Work

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The University of Georgia Athletic Association has dropped Hardin Construction Co. as prime contractor on an $18.6-million expansion of an office and practice facility building in Athens, Ga., because of concern following the Dec. 19, 2008, collapse of a deck section that killed one worker at a Hardin project at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens. “We didn’t want additional attention brought to the [new] project while that incident is being investigated,” says Arthur Johnson, associate athletic director. Atlanta-based Hardin is contesting a proposed safety fine over the accident. Although the final contract for the expansion project at Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall had not been signed, the athletic association on June 26 informed Hardin of its selection and issued a notice to proceed. Within days the notice was cancelled. The athletic association instead hired Brasfield & Gorrie, Birmingham, Ala., at an additional cost of about $210,000. “We never like to lose business, but we understand the effect of the intense media coverage on the university’s decision and respect the right” of the athletic association to “make decisions based on their self-interests,” says Hardin Chairman Brantley Barrow. “We’re moving ahead, pursuing and obtaining other work and delivering on current projects, including work at other colleges and universities and in private development.”

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