Cost to Fix PO City Hall Leaks Uncertain

Mold could be a problem, one contractor has said.

By Chris Henry
Port Orchard’s 8-year-old City Hall has leaks in some of its windows. What it will take to fix them is uncertain.
City Engineer Maher Abed said last year’s unusually wet winter resulted in some leakage on the first and second floors. Abed said his department originally thought a small number of windows would need to be weatherized and some Sheetrock replaced. He said the project now appears to be larger in scope, but he indicated the situation is no cause for alarm.
Dan Fischer, of Fischer Contracting Inc. of Poulsbo, has a different take.
Fischer, the same company that is renovating the leaky Kitsap County Public Works Building, submitted a bid in August to recaulk the leaky windows. Fischer, in the bid proposal, said that, while his company could perform the work for $183,747, he could not guarantee it, because caulking the windows would only be a temporary fix.
“The condition of the building is such that other portions of the exterior envelope will develop problems within the next year,” Fisher wrote. “We also must caution the city that the current condition of the building indicates that it is likely that mold is already growing in the wall cavities.”
Fischer told the Kitsap Sun he believes the problems at City Hall are similar to those of the Public Works Building, which has required a complete refitting of the building “envelope,” at a cost of $2.6 million, due to faulty construction. He said the cost for a similar fix to City Hall could run as high as $1 million.
Abed dismissed Fischer’s evaluation, saying, “The higher number of $1 million is speculative at best and is not based on facts, so I will not address it at this point. All I can say is the city is prepared to fix the problem in a timely fashion.”
Abed also dismissed the suggestion of mold being a problem, saying, “The architect doesn’t think there’s mold. Without opening it up, we don’t know for sure,” said Abed. “With mold you’d have a smell, but we haven’t experienced that.”
Before the extent of the problem was known, the city solicited bids from its “small works roster” of companies available for small repair and maintenance jobs. Fisher was the only company to submit a bid.
An assessment from Art Anderson and Associates of Bremerton, who designed City Hall, led city officials to opt for a formal bid process for the project, said Mayor Kim Abel, who added Fischer’s opinion also influenced their decision.
“With only one response, we said, ‘That’s not very representative,’” said Abel. “But we also took his concerns to heart.”
Art Anderson will help the city prepare bid specifications for the formal bid process.
The city’s preliminary budget includes $250,000 for the City Hall project. The money is currently in the supplemental budget, said Councilman John Clauson, chairman of the finance committee. Adding that amount to the main budget would require other adjustments to balance the budget, he said.
Abel said she’ll wait to see the bids submitted before becoming alarmed.
“If they all come in outside the box, we know we’ll have to do something else,” she said.
Port Orchard City Hall was dedicated in 1999, and the prime contractor was Yuns Construction of Seattle.
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