Justice Center progress hampered by lack of workers

Updated: Feb 1

MOUND CITY – Dry and warm weather conditions through the fall and early winter have been helpful in keeping the construction of the Linn County Justice Center on schedule for a March completion. However, an unforeseen roadblock has developed over the last couple of weeks.


In his weekly update on construction progress to the Linn County Commission on Monday, Nov. 11, Bill Matlock from River City Construction said that currently the big problem is sickness.


“It’s bad,” he said, adding that they were running short on every crew, and even their offices have sick people.

Matlock said he didn’t know if it was COVID-19 or the flu, but there were a large number of people who were out sick. He said the St. Louis, Mo. company hired to install controls for the center have 70 electricians and 30 of them are out sick.


The subcontractor for the ironworkers that were due to start Monday called Friday and said that his people were sick and he couldn’t guarantee a crew would make it, Matlock said. He said he would know later how many workers would show up.


He also reported that about half of the bricklayers had been out, with some of them just returning Monday after being out as long as three weeks. The masons will continue the stone on the exterior this week and the good weather forecasted should help.


Johnson asked if the project was still on schedule like before.


Matlock said the project was on schedule, but they are still pushing the schedule again. He said they had 40 weather days scheduled into the timeframe, and they have manipulated the schedule to keep subcontractors on track for the end date.


If things get tight they are going to be screaming that we did not give them any weather days, Matlock said. Things are going to be tight, we are going to be right down to the wire. Every job is like that, it's the nature of it, but we will continue to push hard.


Matlock reported that the good weather this coming week was going to be very helpful to get paving done on the east end. The roofers will be back to do the cap flashing which is the last step of the roofing.


As for the interior, the drywall is pretty much hung and taped and the painting processes have begun and we are finishing the ceramic tile that is going into the bathrooms, said Matlock.


Workers are starting drop in ceiling grids on some of the rooms. As far as the jail cells,

Pauly Jail will be back today, Matlock said. He added that workers are going to start security ceilings in the secure rooms and the company was going to swing security doors so that we can continue on with the wiring of the security doors, there is a lot of control work there, he added.

He said that workers are finishing the plumbing and electrical tie-ins on the back of the cells. That work was delayed so they could get to the work above the ceiling level finished first.


Matlock said that River City did get the preliminary drawing on the county’s parking lot redo because of the decision to keep the annex. He said he planned to meet with subcontractor Wednesday to discuss the scope changes and if there are quantity changes.


Matlock did bring up the concern that, because the annex building was not being removed, the overhead service lines to the annex building come right through the parking lot and hang low. He said if commissioners want to put them underground, it needs to be done before the parking lot is installed.


Linn County Counselor Gary Thompson said that he thought the county should bury the lines, especially the telephone line, which was the lowest. Thompson said that it was not only aesthetically not pleasing but could create problems if someone drove through the parking with something tall that might catch it.

Commission Chair Jim Johnson asked if Matlock saw any more problems with material coming.

Matlock said that material had not been a big problem. We have a few issues here and there, we are looking at lighting fixtures, trying to nail down all the delivery dates.


Thompson, who is also the county’s point person with River City, said about the only thing that has not come in was the lockers.

Matlock said he had been given an April 18 delivery date for the lockers, which are not security lockers or lockers for weapons but rather run-of-the-mill, standard lockers.


There is an issue you will have to make a decision on a situation where a window was placed that was not supposed to be there, said Thompson.

Matlock said the mistake was found when the were measuring for window sills – an exterior wall in a restroom for the sheriff’s office.


Thompson and Matlock presented options for correcting this problem. The window could be torn out and the wall finished; the glass could be replaced with something translucent; the glass could be covered with a film of some sort, or they could drywall over the window completely on the inside.


Matlock said that he had seen this done before and on the inside you could not tell there was a window there. On the outside you would not know that the window was covered over.


The commissioners decided to look at the situation on a tour of the building later in the morning.

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