BY SABRINA BATES
DRESDEN (April 1) – Further progress was made Friday for a project that will upgrade the heating and ventilation system along with roof replacement for the Weakley County Detention Center after members of the county’s Finance, Ways and Means Committee voted to move forward with the proposal.
Members of the PATH Company were on hand to field questions from county commission members during the FWM Committee meeting held in the Weakley County Board of Education conference Friday morning. PATH was the company contracted to provide the engineering plans for recent upgrades to the Weakley County Courthouse.
Weakley County Mayor Jake Bynum told the group the reason for the meeting was to get prepared for the upcoming county commission meeting in May, by having questions and concerns by commissioners addressed prior to the full commission meeting. Bynum explained with the cost of building materials increasing, supply chain issues and interest rates going up, it was important for members to not sit in a place of indecision on the project.
PATH Vice President William Franklin; co-owner and principal engineer Russ Phillips, PE; and vice president of engineering Alan Watts, PE presented current findings from studies conducted at the county detention center to the members of the committee. During a meeting held March 17, PATH employees told committee members they found three problem areas where moisture is entering the detention center: the envelope around the building, the roof and the plumbing. The roof is approximately 22 years old, around the normal lifespan of that type of roof, with patches. It had degraded past the point of patching. PATH recommended the roof and approximately 29 HVAC units on the roof be replaced. Some of the units have reached their lifespan and others were not considered the right type of unit for a correctional facility, the team explained.
Some of the HVAC units on the roof still have compressor warranties and they were identified as salvageable and potential units for some of the schools in the county. There are 10 units that would potentially be pulled and stored by the county for future use.
Coming to a decision that day, the county would save an estimated $60,000 on a project estimated at $5.2 million. FWM Committee Chairman Eric Owen explained there was already a little more than $400,000 budgeted for the roof, as the county thought it was just a roof problem. Under the project proposal, there is a 30-year parts and labor warranty on the roof. PATH team members explained the HVAC equipment in the project is something the maintenance supervisor at the detention center feels comfortable to work on himself.
When it rains, there are buckets in various parts of the Detention Center, including the lobby, to catch water as a result of leaks. Owen told committee members if this were a school and parents saw that, they would be upset.
Commissioner Dennis Doster said the board needed to act on the proposal as this issue has been discussed for a few years and prices for supplies continue to increase.
With stipulations in place, such as providing the county with a list of people who can work on the proposed units, as suggested by Commissioner Roger Donaldson. PATH agreed to provide a list to the county of others locally who could work on the units in the proposal.
The FWM Committee voted that day to sign an agreement with PATH to purchase the equipment using the funds set aside for the roof project.
The full proposal will be brought before the entire body of the Weakley County Commission during its May quarterly meeting.