Courthouse, jail construction discussed by county officials

The afternoon session of Monday's County Commissioners meeting was held in the third floor conference room and focused on issues with the remediation of the courthouse facade as well as issues pertaining to the proposed Nolan County Jail and Sheriff's Offices. Representatives from Turner Construction Company, including Construction Superintendent Brent Guice, spoke to county commissioners about several issues, namely in the third floor C-channels. Turner Construction found risks in the initial plan and proposed using a portion of the contingency budget so as not to have to ask for more funds. The potential cost for the C-channel modifications, as well as the demolition and replacement of the Sheriff's Office entry way stair and the repair of the loose diesel tank partition wall, total approximately $43,700. Commissioners approved a motion for Turner Construction to use funds not to exceed $43,700 from the $64,158 contingency budget. The guaranteed maximum price of the renovations to the Nolan County Courthouse remains the same.Nolan County commissioners, Sheriff David Warren, members of his staff and Turner Construction representatives then discussed several issues surrounding the proposed Nolan County Jail and Sheriff's Offices. The commissioners and Sheriff Warren expressed their concerns and frustrations with the timeline of the project, which is currently four and a half months behind schedule. The cost of the project is also $1.5 million over budget. Turner Construction compiled a list of approximately 30 valued engineering options that could be reduced, modified or deleted completely from the building plans to bring the project within its budget. The commissioners, Turner Construction representatives, Sheriff Warren and members of his staff, County Attorney Lisa Peterson, and others spent several hours going through the list reducing certain items - visitor parking (a loss of 15 spaces) - modifying others - using plaster or CMU for the exterior, rather than stone; using vinyl tile instead of porcelain tile for the floors - and completely deleting some options altogether - taking out ceilings from dormitories/dayrooms and deleting nine detention doors. By the end of the discussion, despite the majority of the items on the list being reduced, modified, or deleted, the over-budget cost was only reduced by about $500,000. County Attorney Lisa Peterson then advised Turner Construction that they are obligated to come back to the commissioners with a proposal that is within the initial budget. All four precinct commissioners agreed and stressed that they will not go to the tax payers to ask for more money. The Turner Construction representatives agreed to double check prices and look into other bidding options on several features to reduce the cost and bring the project within budget. A new proposal should be delivered to Nolan County commissioners by next week.