Improvements Scheduled For Keystone Building

606 S Calhoun – Northeast Corner

Persecutor’s Building Work Back On Track

A lawsuit over wages cost Allen County three years of delay and $100,000, but renovations are finally likely to begin on the Keystone Building.

The county commissioners on Friday are expected to vote on nearly a half-million contract with Schenkel Construction to upgrade the building on Calhoun Street across from the Rousseau Centre. The building is the home of the county prosecutor.

Chris Cloud, executive assistant for the commissioners, said Wednesday the work would include a boiler upgrade, the creation of new offices for staff and mechanical upgrades. The commissioners are paying for $80,000 of the work and the prosecutor’s office is paying for the rest.

The work was originally proposed in 2009, but the Northeastern Indiana Building and Construction Trades Council sued the county over how wages were set for the remodeling project. The group represents local unions and argued the county did not properly act when it decided to use a non-union wage scale for the work.

The unions asked the court to stop the county from awarding bids on the project and asked a judge to either order the county to use union wages or to conduct another hearing to consider all underlying data and evidence. Allen Superior Court Judge Daniel Heath ruled against the county commissioners in 2010, voiding their vote to adopt a non-union wage scale for the renovations.

The commissioners eventually lost their appeal of the ruling, but a change in state law allowed the county to set its project wages on a quarterly basis. Non-union wages, which were compiled by the Associated Builders and Contractors, will still be used on the Keystone project.

Since the lawsuit, the county has made some improvements to the building, such as replacing the roof. Even with that, the project is still expected to cost about $100,000 more than it would have in 2009 because of price hikes in materials and labor.

If the commissioners approve the project Friday, work on the building would likely begin shortly.

-Journal Gazette

The original article can be found here: http://journalgazette.com/article/20120517/LOCAL/305179991

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Categories: Goverment

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