Bad architecture in the real world and the virtual world

It’s not my job to discredit a local professional. However, upon reading about the problems with the Stivers School of the Arts Auditorium, I thought I might do a little sleuthing. First the Stivers issue from the DDN:

Those ambitions are on hold, however, as school district officials, architects, theater consultants and others work on flaws that could cost up to $2 million to fix, problems they attribute to Jeff Wray, the architect hired for Stivers’ $35 million renovation.

via Repairs to Stivers’ new theater will be costly.

Then a quick trip to Montgomery County Clerk of Courts site– to do a search on Jeff Wray- and I find additional filings for problems.

Apparently, the owners of the Golden Nugget Pancake House are also suffering from a lack of seating- a loss of only 16 seats- which over the life of a restaurant is a big ($2 million) mistake.

Unfortunately- the Clerk has built the site so we can’t link to an actual docket- in violation of all web standards, and the documents are scanned PDF’s instead of ADA compliant ASCI.

Older cases don’t include accessible documentation online, but it seems that Mr. Wray has had more than a few of his projects end up in court, as well as some tax issues.

Being able to search data, being able to read it if you use a screen reader (if you are visually challenged) aren’t optional items these days- anymore than being able to sit in an auditorium or a restaurant. Access to information is power. Hiding data behind scanned JPGs of documents, not being able to bookmark the pages, are all ways to hide information from being useful.

Maybe if the Clerk followed the government standards for ADA accessibility with our PRO website, maybe no one would be excluded from the table (or the theater) because it would be easier to do our homework before we hire.

Open and accountable government requires open and available documents.

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Allen BallewBella Photographicsyvan melnikoffDavid EsratiSW Recent comment authors
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That theater was flawed even as it was being built, everyone who saw it under construction knew it. You cannot see any of the stage from the balcony. The light/control room has no view of the stage. The seats are too close together for safety. The roof leaked at one point. There are many other problems with the new part of that building as well. That building was completely off schedule as are most his buildings, and the construction was poorly managed by his company. The delayed construction alone seriously compromised the ability of the staff/students. He should pay more that the 50,000 deductible; he got a windfall with all the corners he cut at Stivers. The original part of Stivers will last another 100 years; I don’t think the new wing will see it’s 60th birthday. I would be interested in how he won this contract. It is my understanding that he has been sued for many of his buildings not meeting codes, completion dates, contractual problems, etc…, and that this is well know in Dayton. That new theater could have produced some much needed revenue for DPS/Stivers, now its a Money Pit. I would love to see shows there since its closer to me than the theaters downtown. What a great opportunity was wasted when a building with such significance was rehabbed by an artless hack.


JP, I hate to interrupt a good rant, but the construction management for Stivers was RDQM (a consortium of construction companies reporting to John Carr of DPS), not Jeff Wray. JWA is only responsible for the architectural screw-ups, not the construction screw-ups.

I am not saying this to defend JWA. Blogs are supposed to be informal, but it doesn’t hurt to allow a few facts in, too.


Mr. Esrati…your “sleuthing” includes the inappropriate use of inuendo when you say “it seems that…more than a few projects…tax issues..”  Using your technique, I made “quick trip to Montgomery County Clerk of Courts site– to do a search on YOU”. 

Using your logic, it “seems” that you do not pay your bills, that you have tax issues, and that people are not satisfied with your work since they do not pay you for it, and that you have had criminal charges filed against you.  

Since most of the cases you refer to are over 10 years old and the case information is not available, you have no idea what the cases actually involved. Your “guesswork” about case content and relevance to Stivers and Golden Nugget…which, though current issues, are (like the criminal charges against you) allegations, not facts.

Stick to facts

yvan melnikoff
yvan melnikoff

Hello David, Yvan Melnikoff  here,
Now that proper Esrati ID protocals to avoid being flamed have been observed may I just say as a passing Jeff Wray acquaintance that your obit post is vengeful, tacky and completly without merit. Your research didn’t really produce anything substantive that your arch nemisis the Dacron Daily Snooze hadn’t already muddied his passing with.  Citing two work issues of 56 years of life (including rasing children) begs asking “WHY?”  Could you have praised his passion for historic preservation and been done with it? NO!  He’s dead! He’s gone! If he peed in your pool,  tell us about THAT! Did he owe you money, screw up your house?  Have you raised any kids?  
JUUEEEEEEZ David!!!!! It’s these occasional self-immolating Touretish outbusts of vengeful bi-polar pique that sorely tests the patience of people who  support your vision. There is a line between keeping issues and the truth alive and simply driving into traffic on the wrong side of the road. Poor form Sir. Poor form!   

yvan melnikoff
yvan melnikoff

I have no problem apologizing for mistaking your April posting “not discrediting” an architect, for a post obituary dismissal of the sum total of the man’s life’s work, which of course it was not. I apologize for not checking the posting date.

Bella Photographics
Bella Photographics

yvan melnikoff ” Did he owe you money, screw up your house?”

As a matter of fact Jeff Wray owes us for work at Stivers School.  We have had no luck in collecting this money.  Its going on 2 years since his passing and I still have no clue if I will ever see this money.

Allen Ballew

My company performed the Restoration of the Montgomery County Courthouse. Jeff Wray was the administrative architect, not the designer. Another architect did the design work and did a great job. Jeff Wray however caused delay, he frustrated the construction process, and ticked everybody off. We did not want Montgomery County a good client to suffer loss, so we accelerated the project and worked 7 -days a week and 12 hours a day for 6 weeks to meet the deadline. Montgomery County paid our acceleration cost. We won the American Public Works Association award for best Historic Restoration project in the 2 to 10 million dollar range for 2006. We were using the project in our promotional materials and as a reference for other bids and qualifications. I found out that Wray was bad mouthing us to owners and actually cost us jobs. When I found out I was prepared to sue Wray. I then found out he had passed away. I am sorry for his family, but he needed help.