Photo of an office as the newly renovated Augusta Municipal Building
Augusta, GA -
The second floor renovation at the Augusta Municipal Building is sparkling new, and for many city leaders, totally inadequate.
"Our construction manager should have told us, 'you need to look at this,' that's what we paid them for...to make sure we build this right and be efficient. This is ridiculous, it's really bad,” said Augusta Commissioner Marion Williams.
The Clerk of Commission brought the complaint, saying her newly renovated office doesn't measure up, doesn't have space to store permanent records that she said was in the original plans.
"It's most certainly inadequate and I'm in complete agreement with the clerk. And, I'm a little more infuriated than the clerk, than she is, because what has been done,” says Commissioner Bill Lockett.
The renovation work is done, but Commissioners are looking at moving the Clerk’s office down the hall to another office where the Augusta Law Department is planning to move in. But, that sets off dominoes. Commissioners will have to find new space for that department, and that has Commissioners saying, until this is worked out, all new construction in the building will shut down with only demolition moving forward.
“We need to put this project on hold and get some competent authority in to figure out where these departments are going to go, to make sure it's fair and equitable,” said Lockett.
Moving departments and shutting down work can be done, but at a cost.“It would cause major project delays and it would cost funds to get it done,” says Interim City Administrator Tameka Allen, who says project costs could increase by up to $1 million.
But, Commissioners believe what they have gotten so far from the construction and consultants hasn't been good enough.
“We want to be efficient and prudent. Do we minimize out mistakes in areas, instead of being bull-headed and going forward, or do we stop the music and let’s examine what we got? Who else is not satisfied?” asked Commissioner Grady Smith.
Commissioners voted Tuesday afternoon to allow demolition to continue on the top two floors of the building while Mayor Pro-Tem Corey Johnson, Clerk, architects, and consultants sit down and work out a plan for the Clerk’s space problems. Commissioners will take up those recommendations at their legal meeting on Monday.