$7.86 Million Public Safety Building Is Leaking

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MTT News Desk's picture
By: 
Francesca Mastrangelo

Just four years after Ideal Builders, Inc. completed construction on a new public safety headquarters for the City of Middleton, the building already appears to have problems. Much to the city’s chagrin, the police department and municipal court building, located at 7341 Donna Drive, is experiencing potentially hazardous water leakage, according to information provided to the Middleton Common Council.

If not taken care of in a timely and proper manner, such water issues could lead to dangerous mold, said city leaders. In order to effectively remedy the problem, the city enlisted SRI Consultants, Inc. to identify both the cause of the leakage and avenues for solving the dilemma.

City attorney Larry Bechler noted that while the root of the issue remains to be discovered, the leakage is most likely related to structural troubles.

“The city hired an expert to identify the cause of the water leakage, but the problem is most likely a result of the original construction,” said Bechler. “The water is not dripping into the building, but is present under walls - inside the fabric of the building.”

When asked whether or not the city could cite prior issues with Ideal Builders, Mr. Bechler expressed uncertainty.

“I’m not sure if this construction company has been used by the city previously,” said Bechler.

According to Ideal Builders’ website, the $7.86 million dollar Middleton Police building was their “largest municipal project to date.”

Although there is no evidence of current mold in the police building, city personnel and officials said they are not waiting on the problem. At the January 13 Public Works meeting, the committee adopted a resolution declaring an emergency under Wis. Stats. 62.15(1b) regarding repairs to the police station and municipal court building.

Considering the water leakage’s potential threat to city employee’s health, the declaration emphasized the importance of promptly generating a detailed repair program for the building.

“A primary reason for the declaration is the hazard untreated water damage poses to human health,” said Bechler.

On January 21, the Common Council voted to allocate up to $60,000 additional dollars towards police department and municipal court building repairs. These monies serve to extend the city’s contract with SRI Consultants, Inc.

Rather than funding this 2014 supplemental budget appropriation from Fund 416 fund balance, the Police/Municipal Court Building Project is to be funded by a 2013 transfer from the General Fund 100 to Other Capital Projects and Acquisition Fund 416. A 2013 supplemental budget appropriation in Other Capital Projects and Acquisition Fund 416 for the Police/Municipal Court Building Project is also to be funded by a similar transfer.

As the City moves forward with both conducting further investigation and developing a remediation plan, it appears to remain business as usual for those working inside the leaky building.

“So far, the water damage has not interfered with police and municipal operations,” noted Bechler.

 

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