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Mason County Justice Center Repairs Estimated at $750,000

Terry Prather, The Ledger Independent

Water damage to the Mason County Justice Center could cost three quarters of a million dollars to fix, officials learned Tuesday (Feb. 10).

Repairs to the structure, which was built in 1999, are estimated at $750,000.

The problems with the building have been ongoing since it was constructed under the management of architect and construction management firm, CMW Inc.

During a fiscal court meeting in July 2014, former Judge-Executive James L. "Buddy" Gallenstein told county commissioners the repairs are due to moisture penetration that has been happening since the building opened.

Gallenstein met with officials with the architect firm of Brandstetter Carroll Inc. on May 2, 2014, to discuss and begin the process of fixing the problems.

At the time, Gallenstein told county commissioners the cost of the repairs will be incurred by the Administrative Office of the Courts, which owns the building, and not the fiscal court. Gallenstein estimated the repairs at $500,000.

The problems center around leaks in the roof, which has caused repairs to areas on the east and west sides of the building, as well as the flashing around the cupola.

There are also areas of concern with the front of the building, including deterioration of the concrete steps, and water penetration of the wood columns.  Problems with a concrete wall foundation behind the exterior staircase at the front of the building is also from water damage and to identify the specifics of the problem, thermal imaging is being conducted on the foundation.

During Tuesday's meeting of Mason County Fiscal Court, Judge-Executive Joe Pfeffer told the court he met with State Rep. Mike Denham to enlist his help with the situation.  Pfeffer said through Denham's help, he spoke with an official at the Administrative Office of the Courts, who informed him there isn't money in the agency's current maintenance budget to cover the repairs this year.

Pfeffer said he was advised by the AOC official because the estimated cost is three quarters of a million dollars, the money is considered more of a capital expense, something that would need to be included in the General Assembly budget in the 2016 session.

"There are roof leaks and water damage is the big culprit and it's coming from various sources," Pfeffer said after the meeting.

"It's a reality the AOC doesn't have enough money and while it's not coming out of the fiscal court budget, it's still taxpayer money," Pfeffer said.

Pfeffer said he was told several justice centers built around the state during the same period are having similar problems.

Until funding is secured to address the larger problems, repairs are being undertaken to fix smaller problems to prevent further damage.

The Ledger Independent is online at: http://www.maysville-online.com