Rising Costs

A host of change orders has elevated the cost to renovate Marietta’s 78-year-old city hall building past the $2.8 million mark. And with at least another month of construction left the contingency funds are nearly spent.

“We now have a $9,500 balance in the contingency fund; we’re getting pretty close,” Councilman Tom Vukovic, D-4th Ward, announced after adding the latest change orders during a finance committee meeting last week.

The last round of change orders totaled $38,324, which included $25,740 to extend construction administration services by Pickering Associates, and another $12,312 for additional work required due to some project design changes.

“Our six-month contract has expired to provide construction administration and site observation for the project,” Pickering architect Traci Stotts explained.

She said the $25,740 would be used to cover time and materials as needed through the remainder of the renovation project.

City engineer Joe Tucker said the $12,312 change order was needed because there had been some additional design time to accommodate changes required for the police department which is located in the city hall building.

The recent change orders increased the total expended so far on the project from $2,797,131 to $2,835,455.

“It’s an old building and unexpected issues often come up when you’re dealing with these older structures,” Tucker said.

Jim Wark, administrator/inspector on the project for Pickering Associates, agreed.

“And the project is running about 20 days behind due to asbestos abatement that had to be done after asbestos was discovered inside some of the walls,” he said.

Wark also noted crews working on a basement wall discovered a large window well that had been covered up over the years, which required replacement of an entire window.

“There aren’t a lot of existing plans for these older buildings, and the plans that do exist are 60 to 80 years old and often are not very accurate,” he said. “So it’s not unusual to run into some unexpected problems.”

Wark said except for the delay caused by the asbestos, the project is basically on schedule for completion by the end of August or first of September.

“Everything seems to be going smoothly, in spite of some issues just because we’re dealing with an old building,” Stotts added. “But overall I’m pretty pleased with the project.”

On Tuesday crews from Graecon Construction were laying brick for a new elevator shaft on the west side of the city hall building as well as gutting a former boiler room that will be used for storage in the fire department side of the building.

Other workers were finishing drywall in the redesigned mayor’s office on the first floor.

The offices of the mayor and safety-service director have been temporarily moved to the second floor of the building while the first floor areas is being renovated.

When completed the first floor will house the offices of the mayor, treasurer, information technology and police dispatch and records, while the second floor includes the remaining police offices for chief, captain and detectives, as well as space for the city auditor’s offices.

The basement area will contain men’s and women’s locker rooms for police as well as additional storage space.

The city hall building was originally constructed in 1936.