$2.5 Million Estimate for Mold Removal at CourthouseJuly 16th, 2013 by Sarah Spencer
At 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.