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County recommends $150,000 to finish courthouse renovations

County-Owned Property Committee members will recommend $150,000 be allocated to finish the downtown courthouse interior renovations, which could be completed within 60 days of remobilization.
A discussion on the remaining work was held with Hiram Rash during the Jan. 8 meeting.
After considering a number of proposals, County Purchasing Agent Willie Shrewsbury decided to request a formal contract from Rash, one of the owners of GoinsRashCain, Inc. Construction Services and its affiliate company CainRashWest Architects, both located in Kingsport.
Shrewsbury met with Rash, Mayor Dan Eldridge and County-Owned Property Committee Chair Phyllis Corso last month to determine how Rash will be involved in the project. He then reported during the committee’s December meeting that Rash will act as the construction manager, and he would serve as the project manager.
Rash confirmed the roles in the written preliminary review he presented to the committee last week, but questioned them during discussion.
“The mayor thought all that was needed was on-site supervision,” Rash said. “I didn’t challenge it then, and I’m not challenging it now, but I don’t see how Willie will have the time.”
Shrewsbury said serving as the contact person for vendors and ensuring the work is running smoothly will not be a problem for him.
Rash has spent the last month reviewing the work completed to-date, what remains, and how much it will cost to finish the project. He and Shrewsbury met on site with architect Fred Ward and a representative from Holston Engineering.
According to Rash’s report, the engineers estimate the mechanical, electrical and plumbing work is 40-50 percent complete, but Ward had concerns regarding the overhead ceiling openings, fire-rating protection, doors and hardware.
“What I’ve given you is what’s left to be done and what I propose doing as the construction manager,” Rash said, adding he could begin pulling all of the vendors together immediately.
Rash said more demolition and property work is needed, in addition to some remaining purchases, such as 12 new doors, frames and door hardware. “Essentially, to do the second floor, you have $30,000 left to spend,” he said.
Unfortunately, according to Rash’s report, “The construction budget balance of $31,000 is insufficient for the remaining work, and the cost required for completion cannot be easily determined due to the elusive implementation of the previous work force, the lack of oversight of the work in place, and the accountability of job cost.”
The breakdown of Rash’s estimated cost, which includes a $10,000 contingency, totals $110,000. The projected cost is offered with the assumption that the project can be completed within 60 days from the remobilization.
“So you’re saying we have $30,000 left and we need $70,000 appropriated?” Commissioner Doyle Cloyd asked.
Rash clarified the $30,000 left is needed for construction, and an additional $100,000 is the estimated amount that will be required to finish the project.
“I don’t think we want to blindly keep on going without knowing the cost, and it takes time to get the prices,” he said.
Commissioner Mark Ferguson made a motion to recommend to the Budget Committee an allocation of $150,000 be approved to complete the project. Commissioner Joe Sheffield seconded the motion, which received unanimous approval from committee members.
Chair Phyllis Corso wanted a clarification on who would be involved in the remaining work. “We have used inmate labor, and I want to tell you upfront that does not make me happy,” she said.
Rash said he won’t be using inmates, and all of the vendors involved would be professionals. He was expected to have a contract to Shrewsbury by the first of this week.