Annex update

The Daviess County Courthouse Annex inches toward completion. The firm RQAW has been commissioned to finish the project that was originally set to be done in May.

The twists and turns toward completion of the Daviess County Government Center have added some new changes of direction. During the Daviess County Commissioner meeting on Tuesday, the commissioners agreed to hire the firm RQAW to do the finishing architectural and contractual work on the project. The county is paying RQAW $52,500 to complete the work the county claims was left undone by the previous architect on the project.

“This is a fee based on their services,” said owner’s representative Mike Schapker. “They will be providing the documents and overseeing the finish of the courthouse. They will work on what’s left. It’s finishing the job.”

“Unfortunately, the existing architect just stopped,” said President of the Commissioner’s Nathan Gabhart. “As leaders of the county, it is our responsibility to fix it. We brought in RQAW to make sure we get this project finished correctly.”

Getting the project finished has been a continual battle. The work was supposed to have been done last May. Then it got extended into late summer. That led to the county firing Jasper Lumber as the general contractor and that also was about the time Lamar and Associates, the architect, stopped showing up.

“The past five months has been a slow process, unwinding the contract of the general contractor, figuring out what is going on with the architect,” said Gabhart. “Obviously, we are disappointed with a number of things there, so that is probably why there has been this long hiatus. It’s just a perfect storm of a G.C. that was not performing and an architect who was unable to compensate for the G.C.”

With the addition of RQAW, county officials are hopeful the project can begin the pick up some steam toward completion.

“The annex is moving along,” said Gabhart. “We are getting through this wall and getting things undone just so we can begin going forward.”

One part of the project that has managed to stay in motion is the work on the exterior of the building. More of the panels are expected to arrive on the job site late next week.

“The work on the StonePly will kick back up the week of Dec. 9 in earnest,” said Schapker. “There is one more release of StonePly and I’m trying to get that in by Dec. 20, and right now they are saying that’s going to happen.”

The county is putting out requests for proposals on some of the other remaining work next month with hopes of getting the bids in to finish the building sometime in mid-January. Even with those plans no one is talking about a completion date on this oft-delayed project.

“I have no idea,” said Gabhart. “A lot depends on when we put the bid documents out. It’s going to be up to the contractors. If they have crews available, from what I’m hearing it is more than 80% finished, so it should be sooner than later.”

While the county sorts out the building issues work is moving forward on some of the parking planned across Hefron Street. The county accepted a bid of $6,600 from Dan Gress Construction to demolish a house at the corner of Fourth and Hefron streets.

“This is in conjunction with the work we gave Landmark to design a parking lot over there,” said Schapker. “Landmark is close to completing those bid documents.”

Once the building is completed and ready to be occupied the county intends to take down the old houses that are home to the Daviess County Health Department, Purdue Extension and Information Technology. Those offices will relocated into the Government Center and the demolished houses will be converted to parking lots.

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