Another $720K needed for PD repair

Mon, 02/11/2008 - 9:32am
By: John Munford

Exterior walls to be demolished, replaced; mold found in insulation

Peachtree City officials are recommending that all of the exterior walls at the city’s police station be replaced instead of scrapping the building altogether.

Doing so comes with an estimated cost of $720,000, is not included in the current $593,000 project, which includes the replacement and rehabbing of the HVAC system, applying a water vapor sealant to the foundation and expansion of the evidence room.

Building a new facility, while costing an estimated $6.5 to $7.6 million, would also further delay having a permanent home for the police department until Jan. 1, 2010, according to City Engineer David Borkowski.

In addition to replacing the exterior walls, the new proposed rehab project would also involve re-grading the site so the slope of the land will divert water away from the foundation.

Because several council members expressed heartburn with the situation at a workshop meeting Wednesday night, city staff was directed to look at commercial sites in town that the city could renovate into a new police station. City Manager Bernie McMullen said because of the special needs of the department for features such as secure evidence rooms, holding cells and the like, it may be hard to find such a property available for purchase in the city.

McMullen said it could take about $2 million to retrofit an existing commercial building for the police department’s needs.

Police Capt. Stan Pye suggested the department could remain in its current location, which it is currently renting, near the intersection of Aberdeen Parkway and Commerce Drive. It is not immediately known if the landlord would consider selling the space to the city or not.

It was during the current building rehab work that the police station’s interior walls were demolished, revealing that mold has infiltrated the insulation lining the exterior walls. That, according to the city’s architectural consulting firm, shows that moisture-laden air entered the building at the base of the exterior walls, officials said.

A representative of the city’s consulting architecture firm, Leo A. Daly, said the problems can certainly be remedied.

McMullen said he attributed the various problems with the building to two main categories: poor construction workmanship and lack of architectural oversight.

City Attorney Ted Meeker has previously told council that the statute of limitations has expired on any potential lawsuit that could have been filed against the building’s initial architect, Don Cobb and Associates of Peachtree City, and the general contractor, Leslie Construction of Fayetteville.

The facility first opened in May 2001 and officials have criticized the lack of workmanship and lack of supervision on the project as the main reason leading to the problems.

City Finance Director Paul Salvatore said its very likely that the city could change its current financing for the ongoing rehab project to cover the increased cost of removing and replacing the exterior walls. Doing so would cost the city’s financing payments by $64,000 a year for the entire 15-year length of the loan, McMullen said. Currently the city is paying $71,000 a year for the remainder of the loan, so the new figures would make the annual payments a total of $135,000 a year.

If council acts quickly on the matter, it’s possible the exterior renovation can be completed in time for police to move back into the department by October,

Should the city decide to abandon the police station and try to sell it, several problems will crop up. First, the city would have to pay off its current loan for the police station, which would cost $1.6 million, because the loan conditions require the building to be used for a critical city purpose, Salvatore said.

The facility could not be used for recreation, for example, but it could be used for public works, for example, officials said.

Salvatore said if council should choose to sell the building, the money to pay off the current loan could come from the city’s cash reserve. McMullen said it’s unlikely that the facility could be sold for close to the outstanding amount owed because the problems with the site have been well-publicized.

Several council members expressed trepidation about moving ahead with a rehab of the facility. Don Haddix in particular questioned why in a drought water would be discovered in an underground monitoring well on the site.

“There is no guarantee this is the end,” of the problems with the facility, said Councilman Doug Sturbaum.

Borkowski said there has been no evidence of water directly entering the building. Instead city officials are blaming the wall problems and other deficiencies for allowing in water vapor.

City Engineer David Borkowski said there has been no evidence to show that there is trash or other debris under the building. However, based on satellite photos that show a disturbed area on the parcel indicate that the dumping area on the site was located off the edge of the police department’s rear parking lot area. That grassy area is currently used by the department for its SWAT obstacle and training course.

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Submitted by spare-ribs on Tue, 02/12/2008 - 8:09am.

All this started when all the yuppies and carpetbagger moved into this nice quite small town and wanted golf cart paths and more and more city improvements thus bring more crime into our city. A one room jail is just perfect, one month on the chain gang will make the bad blood leave the town making the one room jail much more roomier.

Submitted by Spyglass on Tue, 02/12/2008 - 11:07am.

When I read this.

Cyclist's picture
Submitted by Cyclist on Tue, 02/12/2008 - 8:15am.

nice quite small town and wanted golf cart paths and more...

I thought PTC was a "planned" community with the amenities built in.
Caution - The Surgeon General has determined that constant blogging is an addiction that can cause a sedentary life style.

mudcat's picture
Submitted by mudcat on Mon, 02/11/2008 - 7:51pm.

Should we let the foxes in the henhouses again? No.
Should we let Cobb and Leslie bid on any city projects? No.
Should ban them from bidding on any city projects in the future? Yes. Duh!!!

Mike King's picture
Submitted by Mike King on Mon, 02/11/2008 - 10:49am.

Hey it's only another million dollars, so what's the big deal? Ok, I exagerated--$720,000.00.

Just when are the citizens of Peachtree City going to hold anyone accountable? Surely, during the time the police station opened in 2001 and last fall these problems were brought to the attention of someone.

Where were the inspectors, you know the ones who have to approve projects at our homes on a regular basis before work can proceed, during the year long building process? Architectural design flaws, come on Mr McMillian if they were indeed flawed, did your City Engineer not approve them prior to your recommendation to Council?

The mess Peachtree City has gotten itself into did not happen overnight, it's been years in the making. Bickering with an egotistical but effective Police Chief resulting in a surprising retirement over internet porn, a golf cart bridge to nowhere with no imminent fix, pay off of a shady Tennis Center debt, and the list could go on. Have we not embarassed ourselves enough?

This is not a Logsdon/Boone problem, we've had it far longer. Our current and previous mayor have been forced to work full time just to keep up with the shenannigans at City Hall. Only a government agency can operate this way, a private business would have bankrupted itself long ago.

The time is now for more citizens to become involved in the running of our town which will insure the pressure is on those we elect to hold those who we hire accountable.

Submitted by skyspy on Mon, 02/11/2008 - 7:28pm.

Thats why less than 2% showed up for the last city wide election.

You are right Mike this problem started with the lenox administration and continues on today.

Until we remove the contents underneath the police station it will keep shifting until it is all decomposed. I would be willing to bet that the building plans weren't and are not flawed, the ground is shifting because of the junk pathways property buried there. The ground isn't stable.

Mike King's picture
Submitted by Mike King on Mon, 02/11/2008 - 8:19pm.

Point well taken regarding the design. But for instance, let's say the design was good, surely the problems surfaced prior to last fall.

While we're at it, let's open Pandora's Box and assume that Peachtree City's finest began discovering "problems" soon after moving in. They would insure the Chief talks to the facilities guy with the Engineer who talks to his boss, and ultimately it gets to the City Manager. Did anyone outside PTCPD care to get involved or was it ignored until officers became sick?

All of the above being hypothetical, it still makes me wonder.

Submitted by skyspy on Mon, 02/11/2008 - 9:36pm.

I think part of the answer to "how long this has been going on" is when was most of the junk dumped(?), how long has it been there(?), and how long does it take for that type of material to decompose? The ground will keep shifting, while that stuff decomposes.

I think the time it takes for people to start showing symptoms of illness from black mold varies. It depends on how allergic you are. I work in a building with black mold, and the range of illness varies, some are very sick, some aren't sick at all. For all of his faults it seems like Murray was very pro-active in regards to keeping his people safe from black mold. He moved much faster than some gov. agencies.(which can't be named to protect the guilty)

MainframeComputerGuy's picture
Submitted by MainframeComputerGuy on Mon, 02/11/2008 - 10:32pm.

I have a silly question -- how can such a new building have so many defects yet be past the time frame we can hold the builder or architect responsible? I'm a novice to Georgia law/codes but it just seems to me that the problems being uncovered should still be the responsibility of the builder -- especially one still doing business in the county!?! We're under seven years here -- surely commercial/public construction is warranted that long, no??

Submitted by DWKK07 on Tue, 02/12/2008 - 12:28pm.

I can't vouch for the details of this, but I heard that the city allowed the builder to buy out the warranty contract or something like that. I don't know much about this kind of thing, but if that is true it seems kind of suspicious to me. Can anybody elaborate on the details surrounding that and confirm if something like that happened - and if so what the details were?

Submitted by Spyglass on Tue, 02/12/2008 - 11:02am.

In the State of Georgia, any construction warranty is strictly a contract between builder and owner. Basically, it is whatever is agreed to in the agreement to construct the building. Payment schedules, deadlines etc would also be in the same agreement. In most cases I have been involved with 7 years would be outside of the general construction warranty period. Some of the systems may have still had coverage.

From my readings on this situation, I see one of the biggest problems being the building site itself.

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