Published in the Iola Register on Sep. 17, 2013.

Completion date for jail pushed back

By Jessica LeDuc
Blade staff writer

 September 17 was the date that was set for substantial completion of the Cloud County Law Enforcement Center, but that date has been pushed back.
Tom Wierenga, superintendent with Zahner-Hansen Construction, said Tuesday morning that the new date for substantial completion is October 15. He said a "full load of subcontractors" are currently working on the final stages of construction.
 Wierenga said several unexpected items with the subcontractors have arisen over the last few weeks, and there has been a lack of manpower to finish the project. He said the company has brought in a number of additional subcontractors from across the country to get the project done within the next month.
 On October 15, Wierenga said, the project should be substantially complete and ready for final inspections and fine tuning.
 As recently as the end of August, the completion date had remained unchanged. At the Aug. 28 intergovernmental meeting, Cloud County Commissioner Gary Caspers said the Law Enforcement Center looked to be on track for completion by the end of September.
 Cloud County Commission Chair Gail Engle said Tuesday morning that Commissioners found out the completion date had changed at an owner's meeting on Sept. 11.
 Engle said the contractor had run into some problems, which has pushed the completion date back. One of those, he said, was the Commissioners' decision to epoxy the floors.
 "That was a decision we made later, and that slowed down construction by about a week," Engle said.
Another snag, he said, was Wierenga's being ill for two weeks.
"Things just didn't seem to happen when he (Wierenga) was gone," Engle said.
Despite the project's being pushed back by a month, Engle said he is still confident the jail will be finished soon.
"I think things will work out," he said. "I would like it to hurry up and open, so we can start making money to make the bond payments. That's becoming a concern."
 The Law Enforcement Center is being financed through revenue bonds. Revenue generated by housing out-of-county inmates is expected to make the bond payments.
 Even though the contractor has missed the completion date of Sept. 17, there are no penalties being imposed for each day construction goes past that date.
 "There are no penalties," Engle said. "That's something we really didn't think about or do. Looking back, we probably should have, but now we just have to make the most of it."
 Engle said he had visited the jail site Tuesday morning, and was impressed by the amount of progress he saw.
"I don't think we'll have a problem getting it open in a timely manner," he said.