No timeline for completion of South Summit Facilities Building
Tools and construction equipment were still scattered outside of the Summit County Services Building in Kamas on Monday nearly five months after the project was supposed to be completed.
From certain angles, the building looks done. Rows of book stacks line the room that will become the Kamas branch of the Summit County Library and can be seen through the windows, along with brand-new computers, tables and chairs.
But, the building isn’t finished. The contractor has been unable to order enough siding to complete the outside of the building, precluding the building department from issuing a certificate of occupancy, according to Summit County Manager Tom Fisher. As of Monday, county officials haven’t announced an official date when the building will be complete and open to the public.
“I’m being told that we will be providing public services out of the building before the end of March,” Fisher said. “But, given the sequence of events, I’m not so sure that will happen.”
The new 18,000-square-foot facility on Kamas’ Main Street will house the Kamas branch of the Summit County Library, as well as offices for the Department of Motor Vehicles, Health Department and Valley Behavioral Health. Other amenities include a new South Summit Senior Center, a 1,900-square-foot space for public meetings and an 800-square-foot computer classroom. The county allocated $5.5 million for the project and later agreed to increase the budget $400,000.
The building was originally expected to open in October, but completion was pushed back several times. Plans were then announced to hold a soft opening in January. However, construction delays further prevented it from happening.
“There are a few punch-list items that are normal and still being completed,” Fisher said. “In the meantime, we are prepared to make a damages claim that we have all agreed to as soon as the building is complete.”
The county sent an addendum to the original contract for the damages claim to Spindler Construction, a general construction company based in Logan hired for the work. Fisher said the claim will be filed once the building is open to the public. Penalties amount to nearly $500 a day.
“Since the building is not open, that has cost us money and inconvenience to the public and the staff,” he said. “That is what you are making a claim against.”
Fisher blamed labor shortage and issues relating to materials as some of the problems that have delayed the project. He said it would have put the project over budget to break the contract and hire another company to finish construction.
“The decision was made to stay the course with this contractor and get it done, even if that means we are delayed,” he said. “It’s better to be delayed and stay within budget rather than spend a lot more money and know if it would get done any sooner.”
Mike Spindler, vice president of Spindler Construction, said last winter’s weather and architectural changes have significantly delayed the project. Spindler said he plans on negotiating with the county for the damages claim, attributing the delays to others who are involved in the project.
“Numerous things have delayed it,” he said. “As far as Spindler Construction, I’ve done everything they’ve required us to do.”
The delays have affected the services that will be housed in the new building. The Kamas Branch of the Summit County Library and county health services were opened in temporary spaces while the building was under construction. Both were closed in December in anticipation of the new building opening in January.
Carolyn Rose, nursing director for the Summit County Health Department, said all nursing and Women, Infants and Children (WIC) services are on hold until the facility officially opens. Services have been available at either the Coalville or Park City Health Department locations, but the delay hasn’t been easy for residents.
“I’m sure they are anxious for the building to open,” Rose said. “It is a beautiful building with many services. But, I think we are all frustrated that the completion has taken too long.”
Summit County Library Director Dan Compton said patrons ask him almost every day when the library is going to be open. He said a book mobile visits the Kamas Valley every other week, but residents haven’t had direct access to the library since November.
“It’s really difficult to respond and it is really frustrating,” he said. “We are just trying to work with patrons to renew their books and be more flexible about when they can get their books back. It has definitely been tough and has created a lot of frustrated patrons.”
Compton said his frustration is exacerbated by the fact that he can’t tell patrons when it will be open. “I’ve been told since mid-November it will be complete by this day, and then every time I am told it will be another week or two weeks,” he said. “It’s hard to believe what I am being told. I’m trying to be patient and optimistic, focusing on the positive. Hopefully, a year from now we will look back and laugh, but it’s not so funny right now.”
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Planning Commissioners said the Promontory decision would have to wait until the County Council decides a related case, as early as August.