Leaky jail concerns officials

By The Mercury

The architect for the new Pottawatomie County Justice Center told Pottawatomie County commissioners Monday his firm would stand the cost of fixing the cause of water leak in the facility.

“If we’re wrong, then we’ll fix it. We’ll stand behind it,” said Dan Rowe of Treanor Architects. Commissioners noticed the leak in a jail cell last week during a tour of the facility and after a substantial rainfall.

The apparent problem, according to commissioners, was not tying together three roof drains on the north side of the building, allowing runoff to pond at the base of the building. Roof drains on the other three sides of the building flow into underground drainage systems, and commissioners said they suspected a problem on the north side when the project was bid.

“We sat right there and looked at that and said, ‘We’re going to have problems,’ and now there’s a problem,” said Commissioner Pat Weixelman. “We brought the problem to light and now, all of a sudden, we’re getting gigged $4,500 to fix the problem. I would like to see a fix that doesn’t cost anything…if that animal exists.”

“You won’t see a bill on it, but I don’t agree it wouldn’t have cost the county money in the first place,” Rowe said. “It will be more expensive to fix it now, but we will fix it. I wish we were perfect and didn’t make any mistakes, but we will step up and fix our mistake. Treanor Architects takes care of its issues and you won’t see a bill.”

Following the discussion, the commission entered executive session to discuss contractual matters regarding potential litigation. Also participating in the executive session were Rowe; Tricia Fruendt of SMH Consultants, the county’s liaison to the justice center construction; Robert Reece, county administrator; John Watt, county counselor; and Leu Lowrey, public works director.

There was no action taken following the executive session.

On a related matter, the commission approved offering a six-month contract to First Class Cleaning Services of Manhattan for custodial services at the justice center.

First Class submitted a bid of $60,600 for a one-year contract, which includes daily, monthly and yearly cleaning duties, Fruendt told commissioners.

Extreme Cleaning & Supply, Manhattan, also submitted a bid of $104,570 for a one-year custodial contract.

Reece estimated that it would cost about $35,000 per person, plus equipment and supplies, if the county hired its own personnel for custodial work.

Public tours of the new $14 million facility at Westmoreland are scheduled for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. this Saturday.

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