Jail, R&B construction keeps on rollin’ along
By Judith Pannebaker
Architect Wayne Gondeck’s assessment of the progress on the Bandera County Jail and Justice System currently under construction on Highway 173 North ranged from “it’s progressing onward” to “it’s moving along.”
However, last week’s rain set the construction schedule back by about a week and a half, according to Gondeck of San Antonio’s DRG Architects. “They’re about two weeks behind on their concrete pours,” he told the court. “We’ll have sufficient opportunity to make up the timeframe.”
“Well, you’re way behind on your rain delivery schedule,” noted Precinct 2 Commissioner Bobby Harris. He added, “A project like this should have been good for eight to 12 inches already.”
“Yes, but the timing was impeccable,” Gondeck shot back.
He calculated about 80 percent of the footprint had been poured so far, accounting for approximately 1,200 yards of concrete. Barring another deluge, the remaining 20 percent would be poured Friday, August 22, Gondeck said. “The trucks start arriving on the site and the commotion starts about 3 am because the concrete has to be poured by 8 am,” he explained.
Gondeck also told the court that the well accommodating both the jail and the road and bridge facility had been installed “as per a prior court discussion.” He added that a slab had been poured for the tank and outbuildings, as well.
“TCEQ (Texas Commission on Environmental Quality) has given final approval on the wastewater treatment facility, so we have authority to move forward,” he said.
To a query from Harris regarding the status of other schedules folded into the multi-faceted project, Gondeck replied, “They’re three to four weeks behind the original schedule, but can pick up some time when they have the metal pre-fab buildings up. We had close to an inch of rain out there yesterday.”
Regarding the status of the road and bridge facility set for construction on the same site, Gondeck said CDS Murray, the company preparing the site, would set the floor elevation and stake the four corners as quickly as they could.
He also informed the court the placement of the facility and its components had to be shifted “horizontally on the side from right to left” in order for the well to be placed the legal limit from the wastewater treatment facility and its large discharge field.
“As it turned out the FEMA delay in distributing the funds turned out to be to our benefit regarding placement of the road and bridge department, well and septic system,” said Evans.
Gondeck agreed, saying, “If it hadn’t worked out that way, we might have had to purchase more property” - at an increased price. Although biddable building plans for the facility are about 50 percent complete, Gondeck couldn’t give the court a “guesstimate” as to when bids would go out for the facility.
The atmosphere in the court turned a little tense when Fidel Ramirez of Concerned Citizens noted that a local church was currently constructing a 20,000 square foot building at the cost of $13 per square foot. The budgeted amount for the R&B facility is $1.4 million.
Gondeck said by law the road and bridge facility had to be constructed under the International Building Code specifications. “County construction always costs more that private construction,” he added, after offering to resign as architect of record on the project.
Precinct 3 Commissioner Richard Keese chastised Ramirez. “Fidel you’ve asked that question hundreds of times.”
“As a citizen, I have a right to ask any question,” Ramirez retorted.
At the conclusion of the terse exchange, commissioners did not accept Gondeck’s offer to resign.