City to probe leak at Andy Griffith Museum

This photo shows the entrance to the lower level of the Andy Griffith Museum, where a moisture issue is prompting a proposed leak investigation.

A water leak on the lower level of the Andy Griffith Museum is concerning local officials, who hope a $6,500 study will nip it in the bud.

During a meeting Thursday at 7 p.m., the Mount Airy Board of Commissioners will consider allocating that sum to address the problem at the city-maintained facility.

So far, the leak is not threatening the huge array of Griffith artifacts housed on the top floor of the museum located off Rockford Street.

“I would call it a moisture issue,” said Executive Director Tanya Jones of the Surry Arts Council, which operates the museum.

“Our concern is that it will affect more than that area that is currently a problem,” Jones added Tuesday of the lower level of the facility and council representatives’ concerns about getting it corrected before this happens.

“So we’re really pleased that’s being addressed,” she said of a proposal before the city commissioners to have a consulting engineering firm perform an investigation to pinpoint the cause of the water leak.

Based on a city government memo, the problem dates to around the end of 2009, shortly after the Surry Arts Council gained occupancy to the newly constructed building in November of that year.

“After completion of the facility, there was a moisture issue on the lower level,” Jones said.

The basement began to leak and an entire wall became saturated, according to the city government memo.

This led to the Surry Arts Council notifying the contractor and spending about $23,000 to dig out the entire wall, waterproof the area and install drains.

After being told that the contractor had corrected the situation, the structure was turned over to the municipality.

“We thought the problem was resolved,” Jones said.

Soon afterward, however, it resurfaced, with a corner of the same wall again becoming saturated, in the area of a men’s restroom on the lower level of the museum building.

Two contractors who have examined the facility do not know what can be done to fix the problem, the city memo states.

Another entity, SKA Consulting Engineers Inc., based in Greensboro, has proposed a leak investigation to determine the cause of the water issue, to cost $6,500. This will include performing exploratory activities and providing an evaluation.

“At this point, it’s isolated to a corner on the lower level, so we’re certainly hoping that it gets resolved,” the Surry Arts Council official said Tuesday, citing concerns about possible mildew and mold problems arising from the leak.

“We’re glad that the city is addressing it,” Jones said, “and we hope that it’s an easy fix, especially since it is in such an isolated spot.”

Allocating the funds for the leak investigation will require amending the 2014-2015 municipal budget, which the commissioners are expected to do Thursday night.

Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.

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