County drops contractor for exterior project

Todd Lancaster | Times HeraldStonePly siding waits next to the Daviess County Government Center, commonly known as the annex.

After weeks of waiting and frustration, Daviess County officials have pulled part of the contract for the Daviess County Government Center, commonly known as the annex, from Jasper Lumber. The Daviess County Commissioners approved a change order that removes provisions for Jasper Lumber to install the StonePly exterior to the building.

The commissioners have directed their representative on the project, Mike Schapker, to seek out another contractor and get the work started as quickly as possible.

The StonePly exterior has been a problem on the project from almost the beginning. County officials had to push the company to get the material produced and shipped to Washington in hopes of possibly keeping close to the original timeline. Then, once the materials were on site, a dispute erupted between the contractor and the county's representatives on how to install it. The end result was a delay the county was no longer willing to tolerate.

"The StonePly is really dragging on," said Commissioner Michael Taylor. "We had a change order go out and I think we'll get back on track on getting that put on the building. We don't know the time frames but it should come in the next couple of weeks."

The county has signed no contract yet for the installation. The search for a firm to do the work has not been completed. Officials believe that the change may help the bottom line of the project.

"It's going to save money," said Taylor. "I don't have the exact figure but it will be a deduction."

The problem with getting the exterior done is the biggest sign of a project that has become increasingly frustrating.

"On June 25, they gave me an updated schedule," said Schapker. "It projected the interior to be done by the end of July. The didn't do any work the next week, so that indicates that schedule is not going to happen. The case work in the commissioners room won't be ready until mid-July and it will take at least eight days to install it."

While the interior work is taking shape there is still more work to do. Schapker reports the plumbing and mechanical is wrapping up and the elevator is about ready for a final inspection from the state.

The project was originally set for completion in May. The delays have officials looking at possibly moving sometime in August.

"We are going to get this project done," said President of the Commissioners Nathan Gabhart. "We didn't wait until the ceilings were falling in on the courthouse that way when 'Murphy' showed up we were still fine."

Daviess County officials say they are trying to look at the entire project rather than just the timeline.

"We're still under budget," said Taylor. "It's just the timeline that is frustrating. It is looking up. We are going to get it finished. We will have a quality building when it is done. That has always been our aim, to have a 100- year building when it is completed."

The Daviess County Commissioners have called a special meeting for Monday morning at 8:30 to discuss the annex project. Officials say the meeting will cover a number of items that the county wants to see addressed. Jasper Lumber is not expected to be at the meeting.

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