Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

March 1, 2013

Waterproofing vote ends in tie, fails again

By Gary Nelson
Senior staff writer

CROSSVILLE — The Cumberland County Building and Grounds Committee again discussed waterproofing spray on the old high school portion of the Justice Center and, for the second month in a row, took a tie/failed vote over the matter.

Last month the committee took two votes over the matter and it was a tie/failed vote both times regarding the water proofing spray.

Sonya Rimmer, 8th District Commissioner and building and grounds committee chairperson, said she put the item on the agenda this month so it could be discussed again.

"I'm suggesting we do it. It came in under budget and I'd like to get the committee's thoughts," Rimmer said.

Dave Hassler, 3rd District commissioner, said, "I think it's waste and I don't think we'll need it if the mortar is done correctly. I will not vote for it."

Roy Turner, 7th District commissioner, agreed with Hassler.

Larry Allen, 6th District commissioner, said he had mixed feelings about the issue.

"I think if we don't give them a chance to say 'we told you the waterproofing needed to be done' then if there are still leaks the windows will be replaced. Otherwise, it could be a problem," Allen said.

The bid was submitted by Midwest Maintenance, Inc. of Piqua, OH, the same company that is performing repairs on the old high school portion of the Justice Center to prevent leaking.

The company is going to tuckpoint the mortar on the stone of the building going in about one-inch deep around the blocks. The company will apply new mortar in those joints and recommends applying a water repellant spray over that to ensure no further leaking.

Applying the waterproof spray was bid out separately as an alternate and Midwest Maintenance, Inc. bid a total of $7,860 for the job. Kim Chamberlin of Upland Design previously told commissioners he estimated the cost to be around $15,000.

Bill Walter from Midwest Maintenance also attended last month's meeting and told the committee he recommended the waterproofing because it would add additional years of life to the mortar on the building and said it would reduce the chances of water coming in even more.

Walter also wrote a letter to Chamberlin, recommending the waterproofing.

At last month's meeting, Commissioner Allen asked Chamberlin if the county decided not to do the waterproofing if they would still repair and reinstall the windows if there continued to be a leaking problem.

"I'm going to say I recommend the waterproofing, but we aren't going to duck out on you," Chamberlin said.

At previous meetings it was agreed upon that the county would pay for the mortar and tuck pointing of the building first. Then, if there were continued leak problems, then Midstate Construction would re-install the windows. Water proofing was added and the two parties began to debate over the subject.

Rimmer asked county attorney Randal Boston, who attended the meeting, if there could be a problem.

"If we don't do the water proofing and it was recommended and it still leaks, will that give them an out?" Rimmer asked.

"Yes, it could," Boston replied.

Harry Sabine, 1st District commissioner, moved to do the waterproofing of the brick and mortar and it was supported by Allen.

Sabine, Allen and Rimmer voted in favor and Hassler, Turner and Carmin Lynch, 9th District commissioner, voted against the motion, resulting in a tie vote, which fails. It takes five votes at the committee level for a motion to pass, according to the county commission's adopted rules.

In the letter to Chamberlin and the county, Walter wrote, "It is my position, shared earnestly by our company, that there should be a water repellant/facade preservation product applied to this repaired surface. You have had issues with this building for quite a while. Water has entered as a rule over the years over a vast portion of the walls. This repetitive action has taken its toll on the sandstone and mortar materials on the outside veneer fabric ... All systems have been respectfully compromised because of the years of leaks..."

The letter further states, "You have had a serious problem and we need to approach this project with every procedure we have to render it water tight..."

Walter of Midwest Maintenance also states he would be willing to discuss the subject at further length in more detail if needed.

Commissioners were all forwarded a copy of the letter prior to the meeting.

Commissioners who do not want the water repellant spray say it is not necessary and will be an added cost to the county that will have to be reapplied every five to ten years once it is performed.

Commissioner Lynch also cited an opinion from Cope and Associates of Knoxville that water proofing spray was not needed. Commissioner Hassler has said he obtained information that does not favor the use of waterproof spray on older, historical building stone such as sandstone.

Committee members Charles Seiber, 4th District; and Joe Koester, 5th District, did not attend the meeting.