DOBSON — Unexpected complications at a future government center have bumped renovation costs another $15,000, county officials have learned.
That makes the work more expensive at Dobson Plaza, the former Lowe’s Foods/Just Save building between Atkins Street and the Surry County Government Center that includes the Health and Nutrition Center and the commissioners’ meeting room.
The county board heard the update, not while sitting in that meeting room, but while visiting Elkin High School last week to hear about the upcoming gym renovation and expansion.
In January, the board heard the results of a sealed-bid campaign for the new government center.
A Mount Airy company, Simcon, submitted the lowest bid of $1,799,950. That consisted of $1,723,950 for the base bid, then $60,000 as an alternate bid for additional roof insulation, $16,000 for the front facade, and $75,000 for contingencies.
Facilities Director Don Mitchell said that because this bid came in lower than expected, he recommended putting aside another $75,000, bumping the contingencies fund to $150,000.
Those funds are coming in handy now.
The location of the sewer lines isn’t where the contractor expected to find them, based off the building plans from the early 1980s, said Mitchell.
Simcon brought in Steve Tate & Son Plumbing for the work.
Tate told the board that the lines couldn’t be seen under the concrete floors. There are ways to detect lines that can’t be seen, but each method failed.
Copper pipe can be spotted with a metal detector, but these were PVC pipes, Tate said. A metal snake can be run down into the sewer line to aid the metal detector, but the floor was made of reinforced concrete, so the metal would throw off the detector.
Eventually, the contractor had to cut a long trench in the floor so that the plumber to get in and visually identify lines and tie new connections into the sewer lines.
The trench work and new concrete cost almost $5,500. The sewer line connections cost $3,000.
Someone from the Board of Elections saw the plans for a storage room for the group. This person was concerned about a need for several outlets in the room. The electrical lines, outlets and labor cost $1,200.
The bathroom plans called for using automatic flush valves on the fixtures, but then the estimates for the costs were done with standard plumbing fixtures, Mitchell said. Upgrading all the fixtures will bump the costs more than $6,000.
These four change orders combine to make $15,778.58, said Mitchell.
“With your approval, work will proceed on these change orders, and the overall progress of the construction project will not be delayed,” he told the board. The commissioners then approved the changes unanimously.
In an unrelated item, Smith-Rowe came before the county to request 3.63 acres of land be rezoned from Rural Agriculture to Manufacturing Industrial.
The land is on Old U.S. 52, south of the Holly Springs intersection, near Haymore Road.
Kim Bates, county planning director, shared a packet of information on the land, which showed that this area already has a mix of zoning around it — from agricultural to the north, industrial to the south and east, and residential to the west.
Jody Phillips, the vice president of Smith-Rowe, said the company would like to clean this eyesore that it owns. There are three houses on the land that would be demolished. One rental house burned to the ground, he said, and another was so old and run down that it fell in.
With the area cleaned out, there would be a gravel lot and room for expansion. The company would build a hedgerow along the boundary line.
Commissioner Larry Johnson asked him to clarify that he meant this would be greenery that would block off sight of the property from passersby.
Bates noted that this was one of the stipulations from the county Planning Board.
The Consistency Elements recommended to the commissioners included: “Encourage additional buffering/screening on property lines adjacent to parcels used or zoned for residential purposes.”
The Planning Board also recommended that the county look at a strategy of pushing the N.C. Department of Transportation to widen Old U.S. 52 to three lanes from the Holly Springs exit down to where the I-74 connector crosses over.
Smith-Rowe isn’t the only company listed along this stretch of road. Maps also show Patterson Auto Groups, Fibercrete Technologies, Astro Pneumatic Tool Co. and TNT Carports. Commissioner Johnson’s own Johnson Granite is less than a mile from this corridor.
No one came forward to speak against the rezoning, so the county board voted in favor of the petition.
No discussion was made of the future transportation strategies suggested by the Planning Board.
Reach Jeff at 415-4692.