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Jail needs bigger fridge

By Staff | Sep 7, 2009

Faribault County Commissioners John Roper, left, and Bill Groskreutz, look over the new jail uniforms prisoners will wear at the Law Enforcement Center when it opens later this month. The commissioners toured the nearly completed facility again last week.

Faribault County’s sheriff is putting his investigative skills to good use.

This time it involved searching the Internet for a walk-in cooler/freezer.

Mike Gormley told Faribault County commissioners the refrigerator delivered to the new jail was too small for their needs.

“We’re still dealing on that, on how to get rid of it,” he says. “It’s got to go. With the time crunch, I want to get going on this.”

Gormley asked the board if they would OK the purchase of a new walk-in cooler/freezer headed to Starbuck’s before the company started closing some of its stores.

“It’s a $14,000 unit. They’ll throw it on a truck for $10,000,” says Gormley, adding a local contractor will have to be hired to install it.

Commissioners approved the sheriff’s request and use of contingency money.

The board received some good news.

Gary Otterstad, chief executive officer of Construction Analysis and Management, says not much of the project’s contingency fund has been used.

“Less than half a percent. This is the least amount of contingency we have spent on a project,” he says. “It’s a testament to you … a very cost-effective way of approaching it.”

About $500,000 of contingency funds budgeted for the project remains.

Otterstad presented a “change order” list that included 12 items totaling about $46,000. That amount was reduced to around $38,000.

Commissioner Bill Groskreutz told Otterstad he had problems with changes costing $10,000 or more.

“The items should have been caught and part of the original specifications,” Groskreutz says.

Commissioner Tom Warmka questioned why the project went from three weeks ahead of schedule to three months behind.

“Sometimes it has been frustrating. We had a couple of contractors — where childcare is easier. Let’s put it that way,” Otterstad says.

Several seven-day notices were written to two contractors.“It probably should have been done quicker, that I agree with you. But a good thing is it hasn’t cost you any more money,” he adds.

Groskreutz and Warmka didn’t agree the delays haven’t cost the county.

The commissioners say several jailers were added in June and were supposed to be trained and hired just prior to the facility opening.

Otterstad says contractors will be hired to complete any work needing to be done. The cost will be deducted from what is still owed to the original contractor.

Although there’s no date for a final inspection by the Department of Corrections, Gormley says the public open house is scheduled for Sept. 25-26.