Commission OK’s new courthouse costs

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An additional courtroom is the most costly add-on among a total of more than $500,000 in new expenses for the new Okaloosa County Courthouse in Crestview.

TONY JUDNICH @Tonyjnwfdn

SHALIMAR – An additional courtroom is the most costly add-on among a total of more than $500,000 in new expenses for the new Okaloosa County Courthouse in Crestview.

The expenses are listed in a new, additive change order to Ajax Building Corp.’s contract for the new courthouse, which will include the County Commission’s new north county meeting chambers. Ajax is based in Panama City.

A majority of the five-member commission agreed Tuesday to approve almost all of the items listed in the change order, which totals $514,172. That total is arrived at after $72,519 worth of deductive changes is removed.

Commissioner Trey Goodwin cast the lone “no” vote after he took issue with a part of the change order that related to work days lost because of inclement weather.

The approved additional expenses increase the total project cost to almost $21.7 million. Because of inclement weather earlier this fall, the construction schedule has been extended 26 days, and the job now is expected to be substantially completed by July 30, 2018.

Overall, “We’re progressing nicely on the project,” county Public Works Director Jason Autrey told commissioners before they discussed the change order. “We’re in a position now to elect various things that we can put into the project.”

The commission approved the following expenses in the change order:

The additional and fourth courtroom, which will be courtroom “D,” at a cost of $385,250 Construction of a fourth judge’s suite of offices: $57,057 Adding a restroom, reconfiguring the wall layout and making other changes to the commission chambers: $34,825 Revising the judge’s bench layout and dimensions, along with ramp layouts, in courtrooms A and B; enlarging courtroom C to accommodate a spectator area; adding a spectator rail and acoustical wall panels, and revising lighting, HVAC and fire sprinkler layouts: $28,607 Making changes to security devices related to access control and revised commercial hardware sets for various doors: $7,242 Extending the construction time by 26 days because of weather-related time impacts: $73,710.

Goodwin took issue with that last item.

“I’m not going to vote to give the contractor $70,000 just because they said so,” he said.

Autrey said staff visits the job site daily to take notes on the project and photos of the work that has been accomplished. They also keep records on inclement weather, he said.

“Staff doesn’t just take the contractor’s word for it,” Autrey said.

He then responded to a question from Commissioner Nathan Boyles.

“The contract states that if there are days lost due to weather, the contractor does have the right to claim them,” Autrey said.

Commission Chairwoman Carolyn Ketchel asked whether crews could work inside the building on a rainy day.

“It’s not completely dried in (weatherproofed) yet,” Autrey said of the courthouse.

The one segment of the change order that did not receive commissioners’ approval was the requested addition of pine wall panels and other features totaling $69,177 in the new commission chambers. The commission agreed to have staff look at other, possibly less-costly additions.

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