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Building of new recreation center exceeds budget

By Valerie Baldowski

vbaldowski@henryherald.com

Construction on the Fairview Recreation Center has run into cost overruns, according to a Henry County official.

A total of $477,000 will be transferred from several county SPLOST II accounts to the Fairview SPLOST III account, said Ronald Burckhalter, Special Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST)/Capital Projects Director.

The original budget for the project was $2,800,000, and the original construction contract was for $2,680,800, he said.

The new costs include $179,958.50 for rock removal. The contractor, MWC Construction in Carrollton, encountered rock at the construction site, and had to remove 2,983.76 cubic yards of it, Burckhalter told the Henry County Board of Commissioners during the board's regular meeting on Monday. The facility is being built on Austin Road in front of the Fairview branch library.

Burckhalter also said there was no funding budgeted to buy furniture, fixtures, equipment and other miscellaneous items needed to furnish the center, and an additional $297,041.50 is needed to purchase those items.

Despite the extra costs incurred, Burckhalter said the completion of the recreation center is not expected to be delayed. Construction began in January. No solid date for the completion of the center has been set, but construction of recreation centers normally takes between 10 and 12 months, depending on the weather, he said.

Test borings done in advance detected the presence of rock below the surface, but did not reveal exactly how much was there, said District IV Commissioner Reid Bowman, who owns a construction company in Stockbridge.

"These are unforeseen conditions," said Bowman. "This is not something the contractor, nor the county, would have known, because you can't test for the entire site every 12 feet just to try and find rock, especially when you're right next to Panola Mountain. That's the reason we have a rock clause in place."

Burckhalter said he was aware rock was in the general vicinity. "A pre-site investigation was done, before construction ever started, where you go out and you drill holes," he said. "We, as a county, knew that this site had rock on it. When you drill holes, you drill a hole here, and you drill a hole 10 feet over there, and you drill another hole 10 feet. Until you actually uncover it, you don't know what's in between those two holes."

When the center is finally complete, it is expected to provide additional recreational opportunities in Henry County, said Tim Coley, Henry's Parks and Recreation Department director. "It will give us another venue on the north side of the county," he added.

The center will offer basketball, arts and crafts, music classes, a weight room, and an indoor track, he said. It will also provide an additional site for summer and spring break camps, Coley said.