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Carbon courthouse renovations hit snags

Published December 04. 2009 05:00PM

Carbon County's new third judge, Steven Serfass, may have to wait to use his new courtroom.

That's because unexpected problems during the renovations of the courthouse, located in Jim Thorpe, keep popping up.

During the county commissioners' meeting on Thursday, Commissioner Wayne Nothstein said that the construction project, which includes creating a third courtroom, judge's chambers, jury room, and other offices, has hit a few snags.

He said that when construction crews opened up one of the walls, it was discovered that an I-beam was not installed where they thought. This meant that the plans for that room needed to be redesigned to hold the weight of the roof.

Nothstein said problems with the new design occurred and have slowed the project down as well.

"You run into problems when you renovate old buildings," he said, adding that contractors are trying to resolve the problems quickly so the project does not fall too far behind schedule.

Other issues that crews have also had to deal with include raw sewage seeping into the basement of the courthouse, asbestos removal, duct work, elevator shaft construction, and more. To date, a total of 19 change orders, that have bumped the total price tag up nearly $38,000, have been approved for additional work at the century-old building renovation project.

Nothstein said with the delays the new deadline for the project is early next year, instead of Jan. 1.

Earlier this year, the county hired Bracy Contracting for general construction; Spotts Brothers, Inc. of Schuylkill Haven, plumbing; L&S Electrical Construction Company, Inc. of Summit Hill, mechanical work; George J. Hayden, Inc. of Hazleton, electrical work; G.C. Fire Protection Systems, Inc. of Lake Winola, sprinkler construction; and Otis Elevator Company of Allentown, elevator construction.

Demolition for the project began in August.

The $1.1 million project is funded through the county's capital improvement fund. Officials also have $500,000 in county investments that they plan to use on the renovations.

This is the first major renovation that has taken place in the county courthouse in decades.

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