That was the assessment offered by Professional Engineer Randy Breech in his discussion of the new municipal court building on Tuesday during a special meeting of the Gallipolis City Commission.
“I don’t, personally, understand why we would want to spend $35,000-$45,000 to please, what I have heard in all the public meetings, less than 10 people who actually have a problem with anything I’ve ever presented,” Breech stated.
Breech, who is under contract, as of Jan. 6, as the project engineer for the construction of a new municipal complex for the city of Gallipolis, addressed the commission about what he sees as delays and “problems” associated with a new municipal court, city solicitor and police department complex (an administrative building is set to be constructed on the current site of the municipal building at a later date).
“I am now under contract with you, and under that contract I am supposed to let you know when I see problems, let you know what those problems are and help you work through those problems,” Breech commented and proceeded to discuss what he perceives to be unmerited delays to the project and the potential effect these delays could have on the overall expense of the estimated $2 million structure.
“All of my sources and magazines and builders’ exchange groups, and so on and so forth, are indicating major increases in material pricing this year,” Breech said. “As an example, just since the end of November, there’s been an average increase of five percent in materials.”
According to Breech, material pricing may increase 15-20 percent in the coming year and that increase could mean an additional $300,000 to the cost of building the project.
“I can’t bid the job until I know, financially, we are secure to bid the job,” Breech said. “I have reason to doubt that at this time.”
Breech cited the use of an architect to design the exterior of the structure that is expected to be located on the current municipal parking area across the street from the old municipal structure at 518 Second Ave. as a leading cause for the delay of the construction phase of the project. Breech posed a question to the commission as to why, according to Breech, they had discussed the use of more than one architect during their last regular meeting, a process that would delay the construction of a law enforcement complex.
During the last commission meeting on Jan. 4, the commission discussed the use of an architect in addition to receiving renderings from Golden Giant, Inc., a metal building construction company that has agreed to produce renderings of the building for free. During the last public meeting concerning the former plans for a municipal building held in April 2010, Golden Giant presented renderings to the public.
“The last time you presented anything, you had one picture from one cat, Golden Giant, who are not architects,” Commissioner Matt Johnson told Breech. “We set aside money for an architect, we need to see a drawing. That they’re willing to do it for free is fine, but guess what, I think it would go a lot better whenever you have this public meeting, because we cannot get this thing rolling until we have a public meeting and show everybody the thing. So, we are not delaying it here. The delay is not getting us a drawing, a rendering or anything like that. ... We’ve been through this enough to where you realize you’d better show a couple of options, otherwise things are not going to go down.”
Johnson went on to state that the engineer’s estimate for the project is not necessarily what the cost of the construction of the building will total. Johnson cited the recent construction of the speculative building located in the Dan Evans Industrial Park on Ohio 850 as an example.
“You can give an estimate all you want. You estimated a building out in the industrial park at $800,000 and it came in at $450,000,” Johnson said. “The holdup is getting these plans to us so we can get a public meeting and get these things approved and get things rocking.”
Johnson went on to comment that he, as well as the other members of the commission, are very aware of and concerned about cost escalation in relation to this project and asked Breech to work toward a solution.
“You work for us for now. Are you going to provide me a solution, are you going to give me a path here for all of this? We all want to get to the same place, so let’s work to it,” Johnson told Breech.
The commission further decided to discuss renderings for the exterior of a law enforcement complex with an architect with Panich and Noel Architects of Athens, Ohio, as well as to allow Golden Giant, Inc. produce renderings of the building.
The Gallipolis City Commission is scheduled to hold a special meeting beginning at 1:15 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 20 at the Gallipolis Municipal Building, 518 Second Ave. The commission is set to travel to the Gallia County Courthouse at 1:30 p.m. to hold a joint session with Gallia County Board of Commissioners in the county commission chambers. At the conclusion of the joint session, the city commission will reconvene at the municipal building to discuss city matters.