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Polk moves towards repairing DSS building

After a lengthy closed session during Polk County’s May 5 meeting, commissioners decided to move forward with seeking a project manager and construction bids on work to repair the county department of social service (DSS) building.
Commissioners unanimously approved motions to direct interim county manager Marche Pittman to obtain recommendations from the county’s consultant, MBP Carolinas Inc., to contract for an owner’s representative to oversee the repairs and to authorize Pittman to seek bids to complete the work on the building as recommended by MBP consultants.
MBP gave recommendations to commissioners last December on the repairs needed to the building, which is located off Wolverine Trail in Mill Spring near the county’s recreation complex and middle school.
The county hired Able Constructors to construct the building, with owner acceptance being achieved on Dec. 9, 2011 approximately one year after construction on the facility began.
Since the completion of the building, the county continued to experience multiple environmental conditions and mechanical system operational issues that led to warping of doors as well as blockage in the sewer line. The main issues with building have been problems with the HVAC system and humidity and the sewer line not having enough slope, which causes blockages. The recommendations include repairing the HVAC system and repair of the sewer line, which will entail tearing up the floor of the building to replace the current line. Other issues include duct leakage and issues with wiring throughout the building. According to MBP’s report, some ductwork is not aligned properly and hangers are not plumb, which is causing problems.
The county has been negotiating with the bonding surety company and is still trying to determine who is liable for the issues in the building. Able Contractors is no longer in business.
Polk did not complete payments to Able Contractors because of the issues and the project not being completed on time, withholding $75,000 of the construction contract.
As of the end of 2013, Polk had $128,975 left in its loan proceeds for the project after borrowing $1.85 million.
The county contracted with MBP last year to not only make recommendations to fix the issues in the building but also to potentially serve as expert witnesses if the county had to sue for costs of the repairs. Able Contractors were in bankruptcy as of last year so the county is negotiating with the surety company for the repairs.
Pittman said this week that he is not yet sure when the repairs can begin.