Saturday, February 28, 2009

Water and Wires: Fayetteville's new municipal courthouse work delayed a bit by unexpected reality

Please click on images for views of the site of the new municipal courthouse in downtown Fayetteville, Arkansas, on February 11, 2009.

The bales of hay in two of the pictures are in place to try to filter the muddy flow from the runoff from the red dirt recently spread to form a foundation for the new municipal courthouse. The silt-laden water from the site is seen running downhill toward the confluence of the Spout Spring Branch and the Tanglewood Branch by way of an unnamed stormdrain and ditch along the east side of the new Advance Auto Parts store, which was built in 2008 on the site of a stone house formerly owned by the late Ray Adams and willow tree-marked wetland east of the house adjacent to South Locust Avenue. The ditch used to run through the middle of the lot where a Walgreen's store now stands.
The hoses in two of the photos were bringing water from pumps that were sending the water to the intersection at the southwest corner of the construction site to be "filtered" by the hay and sent down hill along the avenue.
Don't bother to call the ADEQ, because, as former ADEQ water-quality administrator and current watershed manager for Central Arkansas Water said at a recent public meeting televised by Government channel and held at the Fayetteville Public Library, the state "really can't stop a construction project because of water-quality violations," but the cities can. How would that work in this case?

The Morning News

Local News for Northwest Arkansas

New Courthouse Under Construction

By Skip Descant
FAYETTEVILLE -- Construction of a new municipal courthouse in downtown Fayetteville is expected to be complete by the end of the year. But in the meantime, the building process has been snagged by a few glitches.
Some of those problems include relocating telephone and other communication lines going to the police station next door, as well as the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce and excavating an old underground cistern, said Lynn Hyke, construction manager for the city of Fayetteville.
"So, we ended up getting all these utilities pretty much relocated," Hyke told the Fayetteville City Council at Tuesday's agenda session. "The building is a little bit delayed because of that."
The delays have cost roughly $200,000 of the project's contingency budget, Hyke said. However, Hyke went on to say some of the money can be made up by savings planned for the landscaping budget, which can be handled in-house.
"But you would anticipate that," he added of delays eating into the contingency budget.
"Is there any more cheery news," asked Fayetteville Mayor Lioneld Jordan asked, almost joking.
"These are just blocks in the road, and we just need to get past them," Hyke said Thursday.
The $3.37 million, 15,000-square-foot facility hopes to set new standards in environmental building and operation by being accredited as a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design building. It will include one new courtroom in the center of the building with offices for judges, clerks, and prosecutors surrounding the courtroom.
Project updates such as the one Tuesday afternoon are the kinds of presentations Jordan wants to bring to the city council on a regular basis. His plan is to not have a repeat of a council and city being mostly in the dark when projects start to go off track, such as the Westside Wastewater Treatment Plant. That facility was completed last summer, but only after being some three years behind and $60 million over budget. When the problems were realized, the sewer plant was taken under city management, where it stayed on course and didn't see any more over-runs.
"We've got someone who has a long history of getting things back on track," said Don Marr, the mayor's chief of staff, making reference to Hyke.
Monthly status reports will become a regular feature at council meetings, Jordan said.


Anonymous said...

This doesn't make sense. The code enforcement office has windows overlooking this lot in the building at left. The city hall is to the northeast and the police department is to the east end of this block.
Who exactly is supposed to prevent or at least stop this sort of thing?
Did you report it or just make pictures?

Anonymous said...

The 100 people who make the charette circuit with their coloring books and maps are going to love that LEED certificate. What’s the problem?

David Franks said...

Construction site management, including maintenance of existing conditions and control of runoff, are scored as part of the LEED certification.

Perhaps they'll make it up somewhere else.