Pella Chronicle

November 9, 2012

Courthouse Clock Tower to be repaired, fresh air needed at DHS office

By Steve Woodhouse
The Chronicle

Pella — The Marion County Board of Supervisors intends to pursue bids to install a new concrete and steel floor in the clock tower of the Marion County Courthouse. Engineer's estimate for this is $63,300.

Maintenance Supervisor Cal Stephens received estimates from engineering firm Calhoun-Burns for repairs. He received estimates for two other, less expensive options, but he and the supervisors did not believe they would be feasible. The concrete and steel work the County intends to pursue is expected to last 50-60 years when completed.

Supervisor Jim Kingery also indicated that the work being done would be eligible for a 25 percent rebate from the state. The work is not budgeted, and Board Chairman Sam Nichols said the County needs to remain aware of what is being spent and find the funds to do the project.

“That will all be done after I'm out of office,” Nichols said.

Though preliminary engineering work has already been done, Supervisor Craig Agan would like to have a choice in the firm the County uses. He is concerned about the high costs for engineering services.

Stephens said, speaking from his experience as a contractor, that engineering services typically cost between 10-20 percent of the total project expense. County Engineer Roger Schletzbaum said engineering can also be provided in two stages, including preparation of preliminary documents and construction inspection.

“In a lot of cases, you get what you pay for, too,” Schletzbaum said.

More research is going to be done before the County commits to anything regarding this project. Stephens said he would like to receive the bids and have the contract in place over the winter, so that the project can begin as soon as the weather improves in the spring.

Air quality issues have been raised at the Marion County Department of Human Services (DHS) office. Maintenance Supervisor Cal Stephens believes he has a solution to the problem, on that may cost only a couple hundred dollars.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has conducted tests of the air at the building. Stephens told the Board of Supervisors Wednesday that he had not received a report from this.

Stephens intends to address the air quality issue by installing a pipe to intake fresh air from the outside. This air will be run through the building's heating and cooling systems, then pumped through the ventilation system.

“We're probably looking at $200,” Stephens said. No formal action was taken other than to direct Stephens to pursue this option.