Muir School contractor Lawley regains license

Contractor Don Lawley Co. got its license back Thursday after a paperwork problem led to the suspension of the license and a city project.

The Stockton-based company was in charge of demolishing the fire-battered John Muir schoolhouse on Morris Avenue when the company learned Feb. 7 about the state suspension.

Don Lawley died in June, and his son, Rod Lawley, took over the company. He said he didn't realize he had to fill out forms transferring responsibility for the license. He said the license lapsed into suspension Feb. 1 without his knowledge. He said he had feared the license could take weeks to reinstate, leaving in question when work would resume on the schoolhouse. The City Council awarded the com- pany a $58,000 contract for the work in early February.

"We're just excited this went this quickly," Lawley, 47, said. "When we got started, the license board was telling us eight to 12 weeks, and we finally got up in the (licensing board) high enough to say, 'We are a long-standing contractor who had a clerical problem.' "

Lawley underwent a criminal background check Wednesday, the final step in the process. The Contractors State License Board on Thursday reinstated the license in good standing, said board spokesman Rick Lopes.

Julie Hannon, acting director of the city's Parks, Recreation and Neighborhoods Department, said she is working with the company to establish a timeline to resume the work.

Lawley said he hopes to restart demolition Monday and finish knocking down walls within about a week and a half, at which point a subcontractor would spend a week removing burned debris from the schoolhouse.

The 1923 building had been used in recent years as a community services building but closed to the public in 2003, at which point it housed city artifacts until the Oct. 14 fire.

Bee staff writer Inga Miller can be reached at imiller@modbee.com or 578-2324.