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Commissioners divided over walkway for Washington Co. courthouse roof

December 03, 2008|By HEATHER KEELS

A plan to spend almost $60,000 to build a raised steel walkway on the roof of the Washington County Courthouse annex failed to gain support Tuesday from the Washington County Commissioners.

A motion was not introduced, but the four members present were divided on whether to approve the project, with Commissioners James F. Kercheval and William J. Wivell calling for project leaders to seek a less- expensive alternative. Commissioner Kristin B. Aleshire and Commissioners President John F. Barr said they supported the project as proposed. Commissioners Vice President Terry Baker was absent.

The walkway is needed to provide a safe way for maintenance personnel to access rooftop heating, ventilating and air-conditioning units and to protect the newly constructed roof, county Public Works Director Joe Kroboth told the commissioners.

As designed by the courthouse annex project's architect, the walkway would cost $57,140, Kroboth said. That would be partially covered by a $30,000 contract allowance earmarked for a walkway, but the council would have to approve a $27,140 change order, Kroboth said. That additional money is available elsewhere in the courthouse project's budget, he said.

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Kercheval said he could not justify spending almost $60,000 for a catwalk on a project that is already over budget. He said he thought project officials should put the catwalk out for bid as a separate project and consider cheaper materials or a scaled-back design.

Barr and Aleshire said they did not think there were alternatives that would save enough money to justify delaying the work.

Project officials may resubmit their request at the next commissioners meeting when all members are present, Kercheval said.

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