Contractor updates progress on new JCFR fire station

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    Shelia Mader | TIMES

    During the regularly scheduled monthly meeting of the Jackson County Board of County Commissioners, they heard from Derwin White and Casey Kelly of GAC. GAC is the contractor selected to construct the Jackson County Fire Rescue building at Commerce Park. The lack of progress on the construction has had the contractor under fire for quite some time.
    Chief Charlie Brunner met with the contractors in July and thought he had good news. He said at that time the contractor told him the work was progressing nicely and the building should be ready for occupancy by October. Glitches happened, work halted and no workers could be found on site. Brunner contacted GAC again a few weeks ago and at that time was pleased with the answers he received. GAC assured him a new superintendent would be on the premises Monday and work would begin to complete the project. Of concern was the damage done by rain and wind to sheetrock and insulation left unsealed by previous work crews. At that time, Brunner addressed this and was assured all of that would be replaced at no cost to the county. He said he was told they had to leave it open because they still had to run the HVAC lines and that had to be open. 
    Monday, White presented a detailed day-by-day outline for the building to be completed and ready for occupancy. The first date was 2/11/2020 with the ending date for work on 2/21/2020. The outline left five days to correct punch list items that shows completion of those by 2/26/2020. Kelly told the board the HVAC guys will be back on Wednesday and Thursday to finish their part. Kelly said, “In the schedule, the only thing that is not incorporated into it is the generator and that won’t be here until the second week in March but that won’t hamper moving into the building. The windows will take towards the end of next week to finish and looking at finishing pretty much everything on the 21st.” Commissioner Jim Peacock asked if the handout given was a valid time frame and Kelly acknowledged it was, and added, “I am pretty sure we can.” Derwin interjected, “We had subcontractor in yesterday afternoon and we told him, look this is the completion date. The only thing that could hamper us right now is the window installation right now, the windows are here. In retrospect what happened was we had a supplier that after the hurricane, just pulled out and we were left holding the bag but that’s not your problem, it’s ours. We have adapted and we’ve got someone on board now.” One item listed was installation of windows to begin on 2/12/20. The question was asked by the TIMES to White if the windows that were delivered on Monday were in fact the correct windows. It had been reported to the TIMES that they had received the wrong windows. White assured the commission and those present that was in error, “The windows we have are the correct windows.”
    This project dates back to May, 2015 when they set a workshop for May 26 to discuss finding funds to build the new fire station. In that meeting, Jackson County commissioners and their fire rescue chief seemed to be leaning in favor of building a huge new three-bay fire/rescue station at a cost of more than $990,000 in the Commercial Park subdivision east of Marianna. The land parcel was to be donated to the county by developers Bob and Kathryn Pforte and located close to the southern business park entrance, providing almost immediate access to State Road 71 South and its intersection with US 90 nearby. At that time, the only problem commissioners said would be securing the money to pay for it. Commissioner Chuck Lockey said at that meeting, “What’s really important to me, is that we make sure it’s properly sited.  If we’re spending this kind of money, we need to know if it’s in the right place and that it’s finished in a timely manner.”
    The TIMES traveled to the new fire rescue building Wednesday at noon and as you can see in the pictures with this article, there were no windows installed as of that time with two workers present on the property. The window areas had been covered with plastic.
    The Times will continue to update you as progress or lack of is made on the building.

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