4/25/2013 12:31:00 PM County gearing-up
for capital projects
by DENISE MARTIN
Chisago County facilities are aging and the county commissioners heard last week about priority projects that can’t wait. The County Board voted 5-0 authorizing the request from staff to move forward and get quotes for everything from parking lot repairs to carpeting replacement and report back in detail. In January the county hired SEH Engineers to do an Asset Management Report.
This was meant to rank mechanical systems and structural shortcomings on a “critical” to the least urgent needs scale. All of the county buildings (public works, North Branch satellite, jail, etc) got a review. There potentially are at least $600,000 in repairs and replacements anticipated; but the action on the 5-0 vote was just to proceed with getting costs finalized. Commissioner Mike Robinson made clear that he’ll be hesitant to order these projects later, stating, “How can we tell people we don’t have the money to fix their roads, but we’re going to repair our parking lot?” From the asset management report, projects at the top of the list include: ~ replacing the government center boiler, the chiller and cooling tower;
~do concrete repairs, tuckpointing of masonry; ~ take steps to “save” the asphalt parking lot and address the deteriorating 1989 exterior insulation finish system (on newer portion of government center.) ~ The county also needs some expert advice on the HVAC specifications and what to do with condensers and their rooftop supporting frames, which are breaking down.
County Administrator Bruce Messelt said the aim is not to come out of this with anything more grandiose than a well functioning “Class B” office building. The Government Center is valued at $14 million, he explained, and lots of people work there and visit to do business and he said it is “...time to get serious” about addressing the aging site. There are also needs at the public works highway shop in Center City, the jail and at the HHS building off 400th in North Branch, that are lower on the urgency scale but which were also identified. Some of these are security related and others are for employee safety and health. The staff will report back to the Board as soon as possible on cost details.