CLINTON — Just when Clinton County officials thought they had reached their fill of construction-related omissions, delays and mishaps, along comes another project.
The new law center opened in September, roughly 2½ months after its anticipated June 22 opening. Construction and installation crews seemingly were headed into the homestretch when they encountered several problems.
One of the bigger issues causing the delay was the lack of a smoke-evacuation system. Although the system is required by code, it was missing in the blueprints.
None of the other woes appeared significant in and of themselves, but when taken together, issues such as missing inventory started to add up to a frustrating wait.
There has been more bad news in the past couple of weeks.
A rural Calamus man was driving by a shed-replacement project for the Secondary Road Department in Calamus when he thought his eyes might have been playing tricks with him.
Upon further inspection, Daryl Henning said the shed’s roofline was not level. He said it looked like it was 5 to 6 inches off level.
“I didn’t get out my tape measure or anything,” said Henning, who lives about two miles from the location of the replacement shed.
Henning said he reached out to Jim Irwin, a Clinton County supervisor who lives in DeWitt, and Clinton County Engineer Todd Kinney.
Kinney in turn contacted the general contractor, who said the technology being used to level the construction site malfunctioned. Kinney believed the roofline was 3 inches off level.
“The issue of the roofline not being level should not affect the service life of the structure,” Kinney said. “Our biggest concerns were regarding how the overhead doors would be affected, and making sure the openings were square and the doors would close and seal properly with the concrete floor that was going to be poured, because the building is going to be heated.”
Kinney said he was just doing his civic duty, saying he didn’t think the taxpayers should have to pay for shoddy work.
Irwin and Tom Determann, vice chairman of the board of supervisors, could only shake their heads at the news. They said that usually when a serious mistake occurs, the county may activate its “liquidated damages clause.” They said officials usually wait until after the project is completed before determining whether to pursue damages.
“We have not addressed any penalties or deductibles on the project yet because we have not reached final completion,” he added.
In the meantime, the new law center made its return to the board of supervisors’ meeting agenda. Clinton County Facilities Manager Corey Johnson said the facility is in need of updates that potentially could cost more than $11,000.
Johnson said that any time a building the size of the law center is opened, there will be things to work through.
Ironically, a blueprinting problem again was being blamed. There is a lack of heating and cooling in two of the “cell pods” in the booking-in area. He said the cells have return air, but there is no intake air, because the intake vent was missed on the law center plans.
Chairman Dan Srp noted that the area was at about 56 degrees a couple days ago. Determann asked whether the contractor had noticed that the intake was not in the drawing.
Johnson said contractors claimed to have completed the project according to the drawing and thought the cell would draw enough heat underneath the two doorways because the cell was in the middle of the building.
Clinton Herald staff writer John Rohlf contributed.