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Construction change order add $1.2 million to Civic Center renovation

The Charleston Gazette-Mail
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Costs for the Charleston Civic Center expansion project are going up again.

Charleston City Council members approved a $1.2 million change order Monday related to the Civic Center’s renovation. The signed change order brings costs for the Civic Center project up to almost $93.6 million.

City Manager David Molgaard said many of the items on the change order were unexpected, including a $380,000 bill to replace hot and cold water pipes. Molgaard said many of the pipes were in serious disrepair, and if used they could have burst.

A new flood wall, costing almost $170,000, had to be built for the arena’s west hall also needed for new floodplain regulations, Molgaard said.

Nearly $130,000 of the order is going to exterior LED lights for the building. Another $265,000 is going to digital signs and the software that runs them. Other costs including asbestos removal from the kitchen, a new dishwasher for the center, and repair of a crack at the Little Theatre to avoid carpet damage. Also Monday, council members filled an open city council seat.

Pat Jones, who served as a council member from 1999 to 2011, was unanimously approved to fill the vacant Ward 1 seat during Monday’s council meeting. Ward 1 includes most of North Charleston west of Patrick Street.

Jones replaces Bernard Slater, who resigned from council earlier this month after a series of legal issues.

“I hate what happened with Mr. Slater, but we needed representation in our area,” Jones said. “I was asked to take the job, and I accepted it.”

Jones, 62, said he was excited to be back on council. He said he’s lived in North Charleston all his life, and while the area has issues with drugs and crime, he wants to improve quality of life there.

“A lot of the older people are scared to voice their opinion. I guess I’ll be the sounding board for them,” Jones said.

Jones was nominated by Councilwoman Mary Jean Davis. Earlier this month, Davis told the Gazette-Mail Jones was the best choice to fill the position because of his experience, and his continued communication with Ward 1 residents. Jones said people still called him with concerns, even though he was out of office. He passed along messages to various council members and department heads.

Jones was first elected to City Council in 1999, and re-elected in 2003 and 2007. He lost his race in 2011 after redistricting put him and another councilman in the same ward.

Jones lost the 2015 primary election to Slater by two votes. With no Republican opponent, Slater ran unopposed in the general election, receiving 150 votes against 97 votes for write-in candidates.

Council also voted to authorize the mayor or city manager to receive and administer $16,025 received from the West Virginia Department of Transportation, Division of Highways for the Charleston Bike and Trail Plan Early Implementation project. This will allow the city to install “sharrows,” or street markings encouraging drivers to share the lane with cyclists. The city will provide up to $70,000 of matching funds for the project. The sharrows are one of the first steps in Charleston’s first all-inclusive bike and trail master plan unveiled in July.

Also on Monday, council members voted to:

Authorize the city’s finance director to amend the 2016-2017 fiscal year budget to add a $100,000 contribution from the Schoenbaum Family fund to maintain and improve tennis court property.

Refund overpaid business and occupation taxes to two businesses. ResCare Inc. overpaid nearly $30,000 between July 2014 and December 2015, according to city officials, and Brown Edwards and Company overpaid more than $8,100 in the second quarter of 2015.

Authorize the mayor or city manager to approve an amendment with CareHere Management for services related to the city’s on-site health clinic. Molgaard said the amendment will allow the city to save money on costs for retirees who do not qualify for Medicare, and extends and amends the city’s performance guarantee with the company.

Reach Ali Schmitz at [email protected], 304-348-4842 or follow @SchmitzMedia on Twitter.

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