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Washington County Courthouse Annex renovations nearing completion

September 22, 2008|By JOSHUA BOWMAN

HAGERSTOWN -- The renovation of the Washington County Courthouse Annex building is nearing completion, with less than 1 percent of the work left to be done, Washington County officials said last week.

Separate construction projects to replace the roof and enhance security also are ending, with all work scheduled to be finished by early January 2009.

When the work is done, it will mark the end of an eventful four years of construction at the courthouse marked by setbacks and changes that have delayed work and driven up the cost of the project.

"Operating in this building has been a continual evolution," said Joseph Kroboth II, Washington County's Public Works director, who is overseeing two of the three courthouse construction contracts.

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In total, the construction is estimated to cost $6.47 million, the most time-consuming and costly portion of which has been the renovation of the annex.

When the renovation project began in 2004, it was scheduled to last 15 months.

The plans included adding space for holding cells and a fifth Circuit Court judge.

The renovation work was estimated to cost $4.19 million, but asbestos, state-mandated security upgrades and other problems have delayed and expanded the project.

In total, 76 change orders have been written on the renovation contract.

The resulting changes have added $1.56 million to the cost of the renovations, bringing that contract to $5.75 million, Washington County Project Manager Gary N. Pozzouli said.

Pozzouli said there are a few outstanding change orders that are under review, but said they total less than $25,000.

In April, county officials said the project was scheduled for completion on Sept. 16.

Pozzouli said the remaining work on the renovation contract, which is limited to the courthouse basement cell area and east alley security ramp and constitutes "less than 1 percent of the project," has pushed the projected finish to the end of October.

In addition, the county has contracts to repair the courthouse roof to improve the sally port and add security cameras.

The roof replacement should be substantially completed by the end of this month, while the installation of an HVAC walkway on the roof should be finished in November, Pozzouli said.

The cost of that project stands at $246,000.

Security upgrades include fencing, coiling doors, controls and gates in the courthouse's sally port, which is used to transport prisoners in and out of the courthouse.

Also included in the security upgrade contract is the installation of a CCTV system in the courthouse.

Workers have started running conduits and communication lines in the courthouse and began site work in the sallyport on Thursday, Pozzouli said.

Security upgrades are estimated at $470,000 and scheduled to be finished by Jan. 9.

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