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$2.5 Million Estimate for Mold Removal at Courthouse

July 16th, 2013 by

zAt the Quorum Court’s monthly meeting, a representative of Morris & Associates, Architects and Environmental Consultants, presented an overview of the Drew County Courthouse mold and asbestos renovation plan along with cost estimates. He pointed out that this is a very general report, and that the costs are estimated at the high end.

If the County is interested in pursuing this plan with them, then they would work out a detailed estimate, and cost-saving measures could be discussed and implemented in the plan, at the County’s discretion.

After a thorough evaluation, it was determined that mold is a significant problem in the building. The cost of mold remediation for the entire building interior is estimated at $96,877. In addition, they found that water was backing up in the walls of the lower level and seeping into the building. This is not water from the City’s water system. A new sump pump is needed in the boiler room. They recommend a duplex pump with alarms to replace the existing sump pump. The estimated cost for the pump system would be $3,426.

Asbestos abatement of the boiler room tunnels, and any other areas throughout the building as needed to accommodate a new HVAC system is estimated at $31,500.

A new HVAC system is recommended. Currently, radiators are used to heat the building and are significantly inefficient. In addition, because some offices don’t have adequate electrical wiring, they are unable to use space heaters. This leaves some offices freezing in the winter, and sweltering in the summer. A new HVAC system installed for the entire building, including removal of the existing HVAC equipment, is estimated at $1,400,000.

Modifications to the courthouse to accept the new HVAC duct work and equipment supports are estimated at $323,898.

The company recommends building-wide electrical improvements, including a new main and branch circuit panel boards, additional plug outlets in each office, and a new fire alarm system. The maximum estimated costs for this are $475,000.

Exterior tuckpoint and repairs to the south and west part of the building (areas not previously completed) are estimated at $67,080.

The total for mold and asbestos removal, sump pumps to remove water, sealing the building, and new heating and air conditioning unit with ductwork is estimated at $2,397,781.

While everyone agrees that the improvements are badly needed, funding for the project is a major issue. One Quorum Court member asked if it would be cheaper to just build a new building. Because the courthouse is a historic landmark building, it cannot be torn down. It has to be maintained.

It was recommended that Entergy be contacted to do an energy efficiency audit. It may be that the new HVAC and other improvements to the building will generate a significant amount of savings, possibly enough to make the project pay for itself in energy savings. In some cases, rebates may be available to help with the cost of the project.

It is also possible that an additional $600,000 to $800,000 can be reallocated from the current 1 cent sales tax to help fund the project. Bond issues were also discussed as an option for funding.

One Quorum Court member asked if money could be saved by having inmates do some of the work. The Morris representative stated that anyone working with mold and asbestos removal has to be trained and certified to do the work, so using untrained laborers would not be an option.

The court agreed to put $40,000 in the Courthouse Maintenance Fund, so that mold (and asbestos) removal can begin immediately in the basement offices housing the Agriculture Extension office. The carpet will be removed, the offices treated for mold, and new tile floors installed.

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6 Responses to “$2.5 Million Estimate for Mold Removal at Courthouse”

  1. Jerry Hughes says:

    2.5 million? Really? Just tear it down and build a new one and save about a million. Good thing they extended the road tax…cough cough.

  2. Arlene Russell says:

    Removing mold before dealing with the water problem in the basement seems inapprpriate since the water in the basement is likely causing the mold? I can’t think of anything worse than spending the money for remediation of the mold and after a wet winter facing the same problem and costs.

    Perhaps you could share the information with the public as to what work is needed to remove the asbestos. Is there an order of work flow suggested by the study?

    Just wondering how long removing asbestos will take and how it will impact the employees as it is being done? Starting at the lower level for mold makes sense but asbestos in the air will float down, would it not?

  3. Arlene Russell says:

    I would hope there is a better look taken at the source of the water in the basement. It seems iffy to put trust in a $3,500 sump pump to stop the water problem. I wonder over the years how many sump pumps have been replaced?

  4. Sherry O'Neill-Rawls says:

    It is my sincere hope that a solution to the mold & asbestos problem can be found. Our courthouse is a grand old structure that is an integral part of Drew County history & should be preserved if at all possible. We cannot build a new one for 2.5 million, & we don’t want to destroy a landmark building such as we did with Gates Hall.
    We have some fine minds here in Drew County, so I know we can find a solution if we try.

  5. Alice says:

    and the sad part about this now is: lung cancer,etc. may God be with all. so saddddddddddd

  6. Taxpayer says:

    Fine the loggers, cut down the oak trees, build a condo at the landfill, gravel private roads, ummmm, any body get it, this loonatic is out of control, oh maybe not, we just taxed the public for some mo money, lets spend 2.5 mil, got the road tax, ie court house slush fund we can spend until 2019. Just saying!!!!!

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