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Commissioners focus on courthouse project


Fri, May 30th, 2003
Posted in Features

"Please ask about the 43 loads of sand brought in. I thought thatís why we did boring tests," requested Commissioner Helen Bicknese, as she wouldnít be available during the courthouse projectís update.

Oh, yes, the other commissioners had some questions, also! Just into the first couple weeks of the courthouse project and a costly work order change was already before the board.

Construction Manager Dean Sand, CAM, Rochester, addressed the question head on, with no hesitation. As digging commenced on the east side of the courthouse, a much greater amount of old courthouse demolition debris showed up including the original main steps. A cistern also made an appearance. Sand explained that boring tests donít go down far enough to give engineers a glimpse of what is hidden several feet below the surface.

David Johnson, the projectís supervisor said the demolition debris was hauled to a nearby site that needed fill, thus actually saving the cost of hauling.

"Why do borings then?" questioned Chairman Marc Prestby. Six to eight tests had been completed, costing more than a little pocket change.

Sand explained the soil has to be tested for compaction ability. Once a hole is dug, the area has to be prepared for concrete footings.. If the backfill is incorrect, the foundation of a structure is compromised. Sand estimated the cost of the extra fill at about $22,000. This amount comes from the projectís contingency line item, set up for just such incidents. However, Sand had some good news for the board as well.

Original plans called $20,000 for damp proofing. This has now been dropped to $6,000. A footing change reflects another credit of $2,200. An electrical transfer switch, approximately $2,300, was also eliminated. This almost creates a wash between the backfill addition and the credits.

The board approved the work order changes and relaxed a bit as the projectís update continued. Other work order changes will come through Coordinator Karen Brown and she will relay the matters to the board by phone to keep construction moving.

Jason Woodhouse, of Kane & Johnson Architects, cautioned the board that additional blacktop may be required on the east parking lot due to construction related stress. A civil engineer will render a final decision.

Stuart Morem, Morem Electric of Harmony was present to discuss the best procedure in temporarily shutting down the courthouse when moving the transformer. It is essential that the Sheriffís Department and a few other critical areas maintain power during the switch. Morem will research the possibility of getting a generator to maintain some power. Friday, June 6th is the tentative date for making the switch. The county must coordinate with the city to move the primary wire for the transformer moving. A temporary switch will also be purchased as the original one is still on order. The approximately $1,500 purchase will help keep the project on schedule. If there are any problems during the movement, Morem can work a longer day or run into Saturday. This would be an additional charge.

"Iíll help you!" joshed Chairman Prestby.

"Then there will be an extra charge", fired back Morem good naturedly.

There will be monthly construction meetings. Policy Coordinator Karen Brown was encouraged to attend. Some local businesses also requested meetings to keep abreast of the project and how it will effect their activities.

Matt Opat, Assistant County Attorney brought up the concern of testing grout before it is actually used. The county had a problem with an inferior grout being used on the county office building project a few years ago. Sand explained the test ing procedures. However, by the time results are in, the grout will already have been used. Johnson believed a premixed form of grout would be used to eliminate errors in mixing.

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