$3.87 million in unexpected repairs added to prison renovation project – GantNews.com
CLEARFIELD – An unexpected and very expensive discovery has been made during renovations at the Clearfield County Jail.
Last summer, the county hired ABM Industries to oversee the completion of a $9.3 million renovation project at the jail.
During the development of the project, ABM reviewed the original construction drawings from the 1980s.
In addition, a third-party structural engineer conducted a site visit at the county’s request.
“That due diligence really identified a handful of work that needed to be done,” said Tyler Nichols, ABM Sales Manager.
“The prison had not been significantly renovated…since it was originally built 40 years ago.”
The work included structural improvements, roof replacement and upgrades to the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system.
“The major elements of the scope were to remove faulty skylights and upgrade the framing and supports for all new HVAC equipment.
Other works included the installation of new LED lighting, water heaters and boilers, major plumbing upgrades, etc.
While removing the skylights and installing the new roof system, ABM discovered that there was no tie beam in the roof structure.
“The roof – essentially – floats above the building and is not mechanically attached.
“It’s a danger; it needs to be fixed, but to be perfectly clear: everyone in the facility is safe. There is no security concern.
“Gravity was your best friend because the weight of that concrete roof was really what held it in place.”
The beam was specified in the original design documents, Nichols said, and shown on the construction drawings, but it is non-existent.
“There was absolutely no realistic way for the commissions or the engineers who walked through the building to know it was done that way.
“There was no way of knowing this corner had been cut until we started removing the block, ripping the roof and the dormers.”
The missing tie beam is likely to blame for the prison’s roof leaking and the premature failure of its skylights, Nichols said.
The new roofing system will also fail prematurely, Nichols said, if the county doesn’t take corrective action.
Since renovations began, the plumbing — not part of the upgrades on the north side of the prison — has begun to deteriorate.
“It causes major leaks,” Nichols said, “and many of the plumbing fixtures in the cells also start to break down quickly.”
Repairs will cost $3,878,660, according to Nichols, and work can begin immediately for the roof to be completed by winter.
Commissioners voted unanimously to proceed with the repairs and will explore funding options.
“It really caught us off guard,” Commissioner Dave Glass said of the unscheduled repairs and associated costs.
“But we don’t really have a viable building if we don’t take care of it. We are kind of between a rock and a hard place.
The county has good credit and American Rescue Act plan funds are available, Commissioner John Sobel said.
“But that would mean less ARAP funds to help our local municipalities with infrastructure and broadband projects.
“We will do our best [to finance jail repairs] and still accomplish some of our other goals.