Dan Hust | Democrat
Sullivan County Adult Care Center Administrator Cathy Rauschendorfer goes over renovation plans with Construction Manager Steve Lundgren inside the wing being converted into the Severe Dementia Unit. The area in which they stand will become the nurses’ station.
Leaking showers threaten Adult Care Center rehab
Story by Dan Hust
LIBERTY May 14, 2013 Water discovered to be seeping from two second-floor showers at the Sullivan County Adult Care Center could jeopardize the ongoing renovations to create an Alzheimer’s unit.
“We’ve hit a lot of water damage in the sheetrock out there,” Public Works Deputy Commissioner Ed McAndrew told legislators at the Public Works Committee meeting Thursday.
Not repairing the showers which were built with the rest of the Liberty complex in 1990 risks damaging the new ceilings, walls and floors the county is now installing for the coming Severe Dementia Unit.
But bidding out and then making those repairs threatens to delay the rest of the project beyond the Oct. 30 completion deadline de-manded in the $1.1 million state grant that’s paying for the renovations.
“We had concerns about the timeline originally,” acknowledged Acting County Manager Josh Potosek. “This just heightens that.”
County officials have yet to find out if the state is willing or able to extend that deadline.
“Everything we’ve heard… is this is not an extendable option,” Legislator Jonathan Rouis related.
Even if the grant is extended, the shower repairs will likely exceed $200,000, said Potosek money for which the county has not budgeted.
Absent state or federal monies, Potosek indicated the funds could be taken from the contingency budget or be bonded, but legislators first want a guarantee that the original $1.1 million state grant which is really a reimbursement of county expenditures will be forthcoming.
“We can’t afford to lose that million dollars,” Legislator Kathy LaBuda said.
If that guarantee cannot be made, officials are considering backing out of the grant and its project requirements, though since the Alzheimer’s wing is stripped down to beams and concrete, the county would still have to finish some degree of work there to restore beds.
“It’s not like we can just walk away,” said Kristin Porter of the Division of Public Works. “… That wing has to be finished. It’s not livable at the moment.”
And there’s still the Center’s roof, which is due for replacement. While no roof leaks have been found in the wing housing the new Alzheimer’s unit, the wing slated to be partially converted into a Short-Term Rehab Unit recently needed temporary repairs after leaks forced the closure of two rooms (now reopened).
“You have to fix the roof,” insisted Legislator Alan Sorensen, worried that future roof leaks will damage both renovated and unrenovated spaces.
Even though a roof replacement will likely cost an additional $400,000, six of the seven legislators on the Public Works Committee (Rouis, Sorensen, LaBuda, Scott Samuelson, Gene Benson and Cindy Gieger) agreed to also bid that out sooner rather than later.
Legislator Cora Edwards voted against both the roof and shower bid directives, citing her original vote against accepting the state grant because of her concerns about the short timeframe.
The full Legislature is expected to vote on the matter this Thursday.