Pickerington Times-Sun

City officials frustrated with police station repairs

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The Pickerington Police Department headquarters building on Refugee Road has experienced a litany of infrastructure problems since its construction in 2002.

The latest issue has been a water pipe break more than three months ago that damaged the building's fire suppression system.

April 1, Pickerington City Council unanimously approved legislation allowing for an expenditure of $8,000 in order to cover costs towards a $20,000 insurance damage claim awarded from the incident.

"The insurance covers the damages, but not the (water line) break itself," said Lynn Miller, an administrator with the city of Pickerington.

"The fire suppression system was impacted and we had to bring it back up to working order," Miller said.

City Councilman Tony Barletta has spoken about the building's ongoing problems.

"The sewer line had to be redone last year," Barletta said.

"The furnaces have been replaced several times, including early this year," he said, adding the building has had issues since it was built 12 years ago.

"The fire suppression system was previously frozen when the building was new," Barletta said.

"It's frustrating. I'm not an architect, but the original design for the fire suppression was flawed and corners were cut in construction.

"We continue to put Band-Aids on this (building) year after year," Barletta said.

He also told the city's Finance Committee Feb. 19 that the station's "furnace room is 10,000 degrees."

"Can we get this building fixed so it's not nickel and diming us every year?"

Barletta asked the committee.

At that same meeting, City Councilman Jerry Dailey said "somewhere in 2003 or 2004 extra contractors were brought in to review the general contractor's (work) and there is a real history on this."

City Councilman Jeff Fix inquired at March 19 Finance Committee as to whether the "lemon law" applies to buildings in Ohio.

Pickerington Police Chief Michael Taylor said the building has also replaced blowers and circuit panels as well as had to "fix the drywall due to water line breakage."

Despite the problems, Taylor said "the building issues have not interrupted public service."

"We are having the heating system evaluated to determine the best way to solve the heating issues," he said.

Barletta has recommended the entire building be inspected to get to the root of the problems.

"At some point it may be worth it if a major building system fails to have someone take a look at it and recommend a course of action to stop the bleeding," he said.

Pickerington City Manager Bill Vance said the city is addressing the various issues the best it can.

"We're actively fixing this building, we're not ignoring it," he said.

In addition to the "HVAC" issues, Vance said the city also has to deal with "soffit issues around the roof" of the building.

Vance said the city should consider having an architect commissioned to perform an inventory of the building and come up with some recommendations as to additional improvements.

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