Daviess County officials are expressing more frustration at their inability to clear the negotiations that would allow for the new Daviess County Government Center, also called the annex, to be completed.
The commissioners did receive some good news on the exterior of the project.
“We are close to being on schedule,” said owner’s representative Mike Schapker. “I am still very, very happy with how that building is fitting up. It’s going to look great when it is done.”
Officials report some mismeasurements and corners that are not exactly plumb are slowing things down. Also, the county will have to order some additional exterior materials.
“Some of that’s due to damage in shipping,” said Schapker. “Some of it is due to handling here. Some of it is due to the dimensions that weren’t exactly measured right when the building was originally measured. We’re finding panels that don’t fit the way they need to fit. At some point, we will be working the details out. When we get a better handle on how many we are dealing with, we’ll order them all at the same time.”
Commissioner Michael Taylor says the exterior work is the encouraging thing at the annex.
“We are making progress,” said Taylor. “The StonePly is really looking good. They’re making progress.”
While the outside is moving along the interior of the building remains on hold with the project being held hostage to a growing legal dispute between the county and former contractor Jasper Lumber.
“Inside is still at the same point it was,” said Taylor. “Nothing has changed on the inside. As soon as we get through the negotiations with Jasper Lumber we’ll start working on the inside again. It’s frustrating, but it’s the process.”
Just when those negotiations will result in a settlement is anyone’s guess.
“It should be in the next few weeks,” said Daviess County Attorney Grant Swartzentruber. “There’s ongoing discussions between the contractor and ourselves.”
For at least one commissioner the nebulous answer of sometime does not seem to be enough.
“I want to keep as much pressure as possible on the former GC (General Contractor),” said President of the Commissioners Nathan Gabhart. “I want a deadline. By Sept. 30 we need to get some other contractors in that building. They’re gone. They need to stay off of the property. We need to get this moving along.”
The project was originally scheduled for completion in May. The county later adjusted that to late June. Now, there appears to be no end in sight, and that is adding to the frustrations.
“At this point in time it is hard to be a passive bystander and watch the former vendor try and slow the process down even when they are no longer involved. I hope they come to their common sense. At some point in time we have to move on,” said Gabhart. “We are not going to be intimidated by a terminated vendor.”
Gabhart’s patience is apparently running very thin.
“I know we are working quietly on this behind the scenes,” said Gabhart. “By Oct. 1 we need to be back in the building rocking and rolling. If Jasper Lumber wants to sue us over their incompetence, that’s an interesting strategy.”