The gymnasium built on the grounds of the school in San Martin of Nicoya was inaugurated in July of 2012 by President Laura Chinchilla, but since then it has been a source of contention due to doubts regarding the construction procedures and quality of the facility.
The company EVICEN S.A. Constructora Inmobiliara was in charge of the construction and is properly accredited. The project was financed by the National Direction of Community Development (DINADECO – Dirección Nacional de Desarrollo Comunal) and cost ₡90 million ($180,000).
According to Jorge Alfaro, secretary of the local development association, the work left many doubts regarding the quality of materials and some procedures used. “I became a member of the association in June of 2012. From then on I knew about the project and began to see things that seemed strange, because you would suppose that in order to complete a project of that kind, three companies should compete [for the job], but EVICEN S.A. was awarded the project, completing the relevant processes, and before two months had passed President Laura Chinchilla came to inaugurate the gymnasium, without it being finished,” he explained.
Alfaro also said that some of the materials used did not correspond to those suggested in the contract, such as the tin roofing sheets, steel used in the roof and the drop ceiling sheets.
Regarding those statements, Marco Fonseca, director of EVICEN S.A., clarified that it is due to a misunderstanding. “There were several bidders but the board of directors of the association chose EVICEN, and that is recorded in the minutes,” he affirmed.
Fonseca indicated that everything was supervised and endorsed by the engineer Marcial Boza, which is shown in the project’s construction log. Fonseca explained that small changes were made with the goal of improving the facility and that whatever money was saved on one detail was spent on another.
In addition, he said that the gym has been deteriorating due to lack of maintenance and because the administration (the Board of Education and the Development Association) has ignored the recommendations he made at the time. “I told them right then, in a letter I sent them, that due to the fact that the school doesn’t have gutters or drains, all of the rainwater will flood the gym, affecting fragile materials, and that to solve the problem the only way is to install gutters and pipes to remove the water.” The advice was given by Fonseca on October 4, 2012.
Fonseca clarified that he gave a receipt for the final payment to the treasurer and has a copy on hand.
Dalma Rodriguez, president of the development association, regrets that the organization has been unable to settle the accounts for the last receipt due to the problems with the project. As a result, they have stopped receiving other help from DINADECO, such as funds from the 2% income tax. “It isn’t possible that three years afterward, this project isn’t settled. Fortunately we have presented all of the documentation now to solve the problem.”