New Court House: "Significant Water Damage Inside & Out," Repairs Needed

Carroll County's fairly new judicial center is in desperate need of repair... and county officials are asking that the project's developers and architects to pay the bill.

Carroll County's Operations Director Gerald Pilgrim explained to WLBB Radio  that on numerous occasions following the center's completion in March of 2012, officials had reached out to the project's general contractor  to report continuing water intrusion and significant damage to the facility.

Pilgrim says most recently, after Hurricane Irma passed through Carroll County in September of 2017, the problems became more severe.

Court documents obtained by WLBB Radio Friday claim: After extensive inspections and investigation by multiple experts and parties, it was determined that the water intrusion and damage resulted from defects in design, construction, repairs and cleaning, performed by or under the supervision or direction of J And R Construction and Development, Roush Architects, and Gardner Spencer (architects, Atlanta).

The Carroll County Board Of Commissioners filed its complaint in the Superior Court Of Carroll County last week.

"Carroll County filed the suit to protect the investment made by taxpayers for the new courthouse," Pilgrim said. "This was done only after experts determined that construction designed caused significant damage to the courthouse that must be repaired."

The initial estimated cost of this project was more than 20-million dollars-- and included the remodeling of Carroll County's Historic Courthouse and demolition of the annex to the historic courthouse.

J And R Construction, based out of Carrollton, submitted the lowest bid to lead the project.

"I was not with the county at that time but I am aware that J and R was the lowest bid," Pilgrim said. "But, the bids were all fairly competitive."

Water leaks have been discovered in an Assistant District Attorney's Office, the lobby, the jury assembly room, mediation offices, along with other locations.
Among the repairs required according to Pilgrim, the county will need to re-skin the facility which will include removing all outside layers of brick and stone, then replace with new product. The county is asking the defendants to cover the cost.

"Unfortunately, we have already had to close some of the areas where stone has come off the building. So, we have closed some parking spaces on the east side of the building. We are continuing to monitor the entire building to see if there is anymore separation... then we will take appropriate steps to ensure that the public and employees are safe,  Pilgrim said. " We are also monitoring the air quality because of water damage. We are doing testing to ensure the safety of everyone inside the building."

The county has not yet determined a final cost for the suggested repairs.