picture by: Photo by Alan Olson
MOUNDSVILLE — McKinley Architecture & Engineering was given the go-ahead to move forward with finalizing designs and launching a bid for the new Moundsville Municipal Building, after much debate on Tuesday evening.
In a marathon meeting lasting more than two hours, Moundsville council members voted 5 to 1, with Randy Chamberlain opposed and Denny Wallace absent, to allow McKinley to proceed with the engineering of the town building. The cost of the building will be determined when the building is auctioned, which is expected to happen over the next few weeks.
City manager Rick Healy said the design McKinley was allowed to go with had no basement, but allowed use of much of the second floor of the building, as well as the third floor room existing, as storage space, which is currently a critical problem. to municipal employees. Several designs were presented to the board and changed before the current design was accepted.
“The basement was the biggest expense in older designs. By removing the basement, we were able to save more money,” Healy said. “We went up instead of down, we added a second floor; everything that was in the basement is on the second floor, for the most part, and the third floor is a wide open storage space, and it will be partially unfinished.
Healy presented a slideshow of photos documenting the current working conditions of city employees, including members of the police department, prompting disapproving comments from council members about the state of repairs and the critical lack of space of storage. Bins and boxes are seen in the photos filling all the flat surfaces of the city building, while the structure of the Moundsville Police Department was in poor condition. The police department will join the city’s fire crews in being housed in the new municipal building.
Healy gave a tentative timeline to possibly break ground on the structure this summer, if things go well.
“If I look at the schedule and I’m fair, and not optimistic, I think we could potentially – if our bids come in at the right amount – start in July.”
Chamberlain expressed concerns about the massive construction project continuing now, in relation to rising material costs. Chamberlain has on numerous occasions before noted that COVID-19 has led to increased material and labor costs, a problem that has only worsened over time. Chamberlain added, however, that he was certainly in favor of a new town building.
“This environment that we find ourselves in right now is a very precarious time to start a project of this magnitude,” Chamberlain said. “Steel prices over the past year have increased by 127%. Plastic used in construction has increased by 34% in the last year; plywood is up 14% and lumber 17% in one year. … If you read the professional papers, which I try to do, contractors talk about the inability to get materials and get them in a timely manner, and if they can’t get them in a timely manner, that delay the project, and time is money.
“…We’re talking big money here – the biggest expense in our city’s history. We have to get it right this time,” he added.
Mayor Judy Hunt countered that the city had already invested significant sums in the building’s design and that if council balked at the price of the project when bids came in, it could be reconsidered.