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More Change Orders And Construction Issues For County Board

By Alex Haglund

The Washington County Board has approved a $50,000 contingency at their regular meeting on Tuesday, June 9, for the building committee to help pay for change orders with construction on the renovation of the Washington County Courthouse.

Counting approvals for change orders to be voted on at the Tuesday meeting, “we are at about $323,000 in change orders and we have approved a $300,000 contingency budget,” said building committee chair Gary Suedmeyer.

“It doesn’t have to be $50,000, but we do need some figure to have if we do come up with some emergency things,” Suedmeyer continued. “If you don’t approve it, that’s fine, but then if any change orders do come in, we’ll need to hold a special meeting for.”

“Where is this money coming from?” asked board member Leo Barczewski.

“From the capital improvement fund, “ said Suedmeyer, “which is mostly Prairie State money. (Money given to the county by the Prairie State mine and power plant, which has financed this project and the construction of the county judicial center.)

Suedmeyer said that there have been 26 change orders that have come through so far and of those, “17 have come up due to previously unknown conditions.”

The board discussed a number of new change orders for the construction, including:

• The addition of more structural steel in order to support the stairwell.

• Door frame reworking following demolition work

• A $48,000 attic sprinkler system with a pump – “If a fire did start up, there,” said Suedmeyer, “how long would we be protected?”

• Changes to the cupola at the top of the building. For waterproofing, the angle of the roof would need to be changed, but then it wouldn’t support the weight of shingles. Contractors instead recommended the use of a membrane roof, like the one used at the sheriff’s department.

The cupola won’t exactly match the rest of the roof, but, “in both cases, you couldn’t hardly see the shingles anyway,” Suedmeyer said, and the membrane roof would not require a scaffolding to be installed. Using the membrane roof instead of shingle will result in a net savings of $2,900 for the county.

• Permanent outdoor power supplies to replace outlets hung from trees. These are used by the summer concerts, the Santa House, the Fall Festival and other civic events.

“I’d hate to see it stay in the trees the way it is,” said Suedmeyer.

Board members suggested asking the Chamber or other organization who use the electricity to help pay for the new outlets or for the power itself.

“We’re going to do it anyway,” said board member Terri Kurwicki, “but we can approach the Chamber and ask.”

Other board members stated that the outlets were also used by the Lions Club, the Washington County Arts Council and other organizations as well as the Chamber of Commerce.

Audit

The county heard the results of the audit from Gary Malawy of Krebheil and Associates. The total report was 102 pages long and Malawy said that he had already given an in depth report to the county finance committee with board chair David Meyer saying that ti took, “a few hours.” The report Malawy gave to the full board was abridged.

“It’s a clean opinion,” Malawy said of the report. “That’s what we’re striving for.”

“We are in a good position based on decision made by you in the past,” Malawy told the board.

He stated that the board had spent $1,177,000 to cover the expenses stemming from the judicial center construction. Next year, there will be another obligation for building expenses, this time for the courthouse renovation that is now underway.

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