County Comment: Courthouse Renovation Project Update

County Comment
Courthouse Renovation Project Update
by Norman Bassett
Washington County Public information Officer

The February 28 meeting of the Washington County Board of County Commissioners saw approval given for construction of an additional elevator, secure area and ramp as part of the renovations to the Courthouse Annex.
Public Works Director Gary Rohrer and Gary Pozzouli, Engineering Project Manager brought a review of the Court House Renovation Project and request for changes to the contract regarding a Prisoner Elevator and Access Ramp to the Board on that day.
Rohrer requested that the Board authorize work on the security facilities to proceed under terms of the original contract as a Construction Change Directive.
Both the Sheriff's Department and Circuit Court have requested the addition of a prisoner transport elevator requiring a major change in scope to the original contract. The elevator request was prompted by a review of Court House security issues following the fatal shootings at the Fulton County Court House in Atlanta, Georgia one year ago.
Both the secure elevator and prisoner access ramp would be constructed in the alleyway off West Washington Street on the left side of the Courthouse proper.
Because of physical constraints imposed on the ramp, the new design includes a snowmelt system that would reduce the County's liability and simplify winter maintenance, Rohrer said. Both of the Contractor's proposals include compensation for mark-ups outside of the contract conditions. Because time is of the essence in completing these two activities, Public Works strongly recommended that the Board exercise the County's right under the terms of the contract and authorize the Contractor to proceed with the work while the issue of compensation is resolved at which time a formal Change Order would be issued
Rohrer told the Board that the opportunity for redesign was used to reduce the impact of the cost The new elevator requires extensive work including selective demolition of an old transformer vault to be replaced by a new masonry and steel security vestibule, relocation of several condensing units and other HVAC equipment, possible sheeting and shoring to construct a foundation at basement level, a shaft rising three stories above the street, plus the elevator equipment and hardware.
The Architect has completed the elevator design and the Contractor has provided a price proposal that includes compensation for mark-ups outside of the contract conditions and several other major price items that staff does not believe will be as extensive as reflected in the proposal.
The recommended amount of the Construction Change Directive for the elevator was $540,363 vs. the Contractor's proposal for $655,576. Funds would come from the current CIP budget and from the proposed CIP for fiscal year 2007.
Project Manager Pozzuli told the Board that the majority of the Courthouse renovation will be complete by June, but the additional elevator would extend the contract through December of this year.