Commissioners, design engineers to move forward on courthouse roof repair | News

Lamar County commissioners and the engineering firm hired to design plans to fix the courthouse roof and improve the hearing and air conditioning system by adding an air pressure control device to control negative air pressure inside cleared the air about a misunderstanding during a virtual call at a special court meeting Monday morning.

Design plans submitted to date from Fanning Fanning & Associates include plans for roof repair and the HVAC system with no mention of work to a parapet wall, which tests last year indicated water penetration of a terra-cotta parapet, found to have unsealed joints, damaged and cracked terra-cotta units, and some deterioration of brick masonry. As the result of the tests performed by Western Specialty Contractors, of Garland, the company in January submitted a proposal to fix the parapet and install a flashing to prevent water intrusion. The court, however, took no action on the proposal, according to newspaper records.

At the Monday meeting, Scott Fannin, principle of the mechanical engineering firm out of Lubbock contracted last year to do engineering work for county projects, including relocation of units atop the courthouse roof to a parking lot below, said he is willing to meet with representatives of Western Specialty Contractors to add parapet work to the design phase and will work with David Chase of Architexas, the firm the county uses to submit proposed work on the historic courthouse to the Texas Historical Commission for approval. Also participating in the Monday meeting, Chase voiced agreement, along with John Barnett of North Texas Industrial Solutions and North Texas Fab, which works closely with Fanning Fanning and Associates. Both Lamar County judge and the four commissioners present for the public Zoom meeting gave indication of a desire to proceed. Precinct 4 Commissioner Ronnie Bass spoke on behalf of commissioners with County Judge Brandon Bell also joining in on the conversation.

Earlier, commissioners were hopeful that grant funds could be obtained from the Texas Historical Commission to help fund roof and parapet repair, but such funds are not forthcoming at the present time. At a March meeting here, James Malanaphy, who serves the agency as Courthouse Preservation project manager, said Lamar County has roughly $1.4 million in eligible grant funds through competitive applications and possibly could obtain emergency funds.

The next application period for competitive grant funding is May 2024. Commissioners, however, indicated a desire to move ahead with work to attempt a permanent fix to leaks that have plagued the facility for at least 20 years, costing the county millions. Money for the work has been budgeted in capital improvement funds, Judge Bell said, explaining that word came recently from the Historical Commission that all emergency funds have been budgeted for the year.

The county, however, may be eligible to apply for funds to help with interior damage caused by continuous leaks. Interior repair has been done earlier after it was first thought water infiltration had been stopped by earlier work on the parapet along with water proofing windows, sealing joints in exterior brick walls, and making improvements to the heating and air system. However, during wind-blowing rains, leaks continue.

During Monday’s meeting, Bass informed the court he plans to have representatives from both roof contractors, The Garland Company and Western Contractors, at a Nov. 13 regular meeting of the court to see what cost projections are for both the parafit fix and roof repair. A Fannin representative is expected to join the regular public meeting virtually when the court discusses the related agenda item. Commissioners, design engineers to move forward on courthouse roof repair | News

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