Mur­phy miffed about time­line for atrium up­grade

County look­ing to bump up se­cu­rity in gover­ment build­ing

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By MICHAEL SYKES II msykes@somd­

The Charles County Gov­ern­ment Build­ing is due for up­dates, but the timetable in which the build­ing will re­ceive them is stretched out a bit fur­ther than the Charles County Board of Com­mis­sion­ers would like.

The build­ing will un- dergo ren­o­va­tions to in­crease se­cu­rity in its atrium, ac­cord­ing to the county’s cap­i­tal projects quar­terly re­port. The up­dates in­clude a new se­cu­rity desk en­clo­sure, struc­tural im­prove­ments for new up­per-level of­fice space in the build­ing and up­dates on me­chan­i­cal and elec­tri­cal work.

Di­rec­tor of Pub­lic Works Bill Shreve said con­cep­tual draw­ings for the up­dated atrium were sub­mit­ted in the sum­mer of 2015, but the pro­posal for de­sign ser­vices was only re­quested in late Novem­ber and is not ex­pected to re­turn any re­sults un­til early this month.

The project is ex­pected to take 660 days, Shreve said, with the fea­si­bil­ity phase al­ready com­plet- ed and the de­sign phase un­der­way. The pro­cure­ment phase will start in the spring of 2017 and the con­struc­tion phase will start in the spring of 2018, he said.

But Com­mis­sion­ers’ Pres­i­dent Peter Mur­phy (D) did want to see that time­line re­duced a bit.

“This seems like an aw- fully long time to get this started,” Mur­phy said. “The con­cep­tual de­signs were done in 2015 and now we’re al­most a year and a half later.”

Shreve said there were other projects that “took pri­or­ity” and pushed the time­line for com­ple­tion back on this project. It was orig­i­nally be­ing man­aged by a dif­fer­ent de­part­ment, he said, but was re­cently turned over to the coun- ty’s De­part­ment of Cap­i­tal Ser­vices.

“It should move a lit­tle faster now,” Shreve said.

John Stevens, the chief

of cap­i­tal ser­vices, said the project has “more or less be­ing re-ini­ti­ated.”

“This 660 days, I tried to re­flect back when this study was first com­pleted and that’s why it seems like an enor­mous amount of time,” Stevens said. “There was a dor­mant stage and that ac­counts for a lot of those days as well.”

Mur­phy said get­ting the project done as soon as pos­si­ble is still a con­cern for the county. It is not be­ing done just for the sake of get­ting an up­date, he said, but rather for the se­cu­rity of county em­ploy­ees.

“The in­di­vid­u­als that sit out there now are to­tally ex­posed, and I think it’s much more of a safety is­sue for our em­ploy­ees,” Mur­phy said.

Mur­phy said he is not ques­tion­ing whether or not the de­part­ment has made safety a pri­or­ity. He has no doubt that they have, he said, but he still wants to see the time­line pushed for­ward.

If all goes ac­cord­ing to sched­ule, Shreve said, the project will be done by the time it says it will in the re­port. If noth­ing else,

Shreve said, the county should be able to get the con­struc­tion phase started prior than 2018 which would have it com­pleted be­fore the Cap­i­tal Ser­vice plan’s an­tic­i­pated date.

Stevens agreed with Shreve, say­ing the county should — at the very least — be able to bump the be­gin­ning of the con­struc­tion phase for­ward.

“I think it’s some­thing we re­ally need to ad­dress,” Mur­phy said.

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