BY JOHN MARKS
MARCH 20, 2019 12:18 PM, UPDATED MARCH 20, 2019 12:18 PM
A piece of York County history is coming down, and several new ones going up, in the county’s effort to keep up with demand for vital public services.
The county agricultural building is being torn down in downtown York.
The 1955 construction housed numerous departments, including York County Council chambers. Crews were out Tuesday tearing through the roof as a renovated historic courthouse sat to one side, a newly opened county government building to the other.
At a council meeting Monday night, Jim Britton with county construction consultant Cumming told leaders the building should be down completely within two or three weeks.
“That area will turn into a parking lot,” he said. “We’re on schedule to finish (by) May. I think we’ll finish before that, but that’s the current schedule.”
There was more asbestos found in January than originally thought, but it shouldn’t delay the project.
“We’ve done all the abatement that we knew of,” Britton said. “We did discover some additional asbestos in the exterior walls. We are addressing that.
Britton also gave a quarterly update on a variety of projects from a 2015 county referendum. The money has been used to expand Moss Justice Center, build the new government complex, renovate the Heckle Complex and create a new family court facility.
Moss Justice Center
Certificates of occupancy were issued Feb. 12 and March 7 for judicial and sheriff space at Moss Justice. All three levels in one building are occupied and Monday were opened to the public. The other should be ready by next week. The upper sheriff parking lot has stone installed and will be paved as the weather allows.
“Phase three, which is the renovation component, is the part that we’ve been concerned about all along,” Britton said. “It’s the 400-pound gorilla. We’re just getting started.”
Demolition of an old solicitor’s office started this month. Part of the front covered walkway was demolished. The York County Sheriff’s Office is rerouting some entrances for public services.
“It’s a noisy, difficult process,” Britton said. “We’re doing our best to work with the ongoing operations of the courts, but as you can imagine noise and court systems don’t get along very well.”
Renovation will continue for several months. Moss Justice work will end up costing more than $35 million.
“Late November, early December we should wrap up everything on that campus,” Britton said.
New Family Court
The almost $28 million new family court started construction in 2017. Permanent power came in last week. Roofing is nearly complete. Yet there have been delays.
“Weather has really hampered getting dried in, has affected the brick veneer and skin of the building, which has again impacted us getting stuff done inside,” Britton said.
The latest estimates put substantial completion at mid-May. The project should be dried by the end of the month, something Britton says is a significant milestone there.
“The project is about six to eight weeks behind schedule,” Britton said.
Renovations of the Heckle Complex originally were part of the family court project. Construction at Heckle, budgeted at $3.5 million, can’t begin until the family court building is done and occupied.
“Our intentions are to bid this in mid-April and get it started, and get it complete by the end of the year,” Britton said.
Government Center Not Complete
The new $24 million government center already has county services up and running. Council now meets there.
“We’re in the building, but the building is not complete,” Britton said. “We still have punch list things to be finished.”
Demolition of the agricultural building to create parking, shared with the historic courthouse, is a major step. Like other construction projects, there is a year warranty to fix whatever problems may arise due to construction. One already surfaced at the new government building, where a concrete retaining wall on the Congress Street side caused water to leak into the building. It’s likely that four areas drilled for grounding conduit are the cause.
“It didn’t cause a flood, but it did cause some wet tile,” Britton said.
A contractor will have to excavate the exterior and reinforce waterproofing.
“Obviously there’s some human error involved,” Britton said.
That building, along with others, will undergo continued inspection in the year after opening.
“The building is not perfect, but that’s why we’re involved in the building for the next 12 months to make sure everything gets addressed, so that the building will be perfect when it’s finished,” Britton said.