Renovations at the Johnny S. Calderon County Building in Robstown are moving forward after it was discovered that electrical wiring for a portion of the facility had been embedded directly within the structure’s concrete foundation.
Nueces County Commissioners last week approved a $5,876 change order to help address the issue, which was discovered earlier this month by construction crews as they worked to renovate a portion of the old county library into four new offices for the Adult Probation Department.
Public Works Director Glen Sullivan told commissioners during the Oct. 12 meeting that previous engineering studies of the building prior to the renovations taking place did not catch the problem, but it was assumed the wiring ran underneath the concrete slab, as is common in most construction projects.
“Come to find out it’s wired through a conduit within the slab, and we can’t reuse it,” he said.
Eric Rivera, an architect with Naismith Engineering, said he was surprised when the project manager called him with the news about the conduit and concrete issue. However, he said the issue was only a minor setback and that work would forge ahead now that commissioners had approved the change order, which would pay to install the electrical wiring overhead in the new office space.
“It’s completely unusual to find that,” Rivera said. “It didn’t make sense to us.”
The new office space for the Adult Probation Department is just the first phase of a $200,000 renovation project at the Calderon Building. Once the offices are completed, probation officers will vacate their current spot, Rivera said. That area will be renovated to provide more space, including a private jury room, for Justice of the Peace for Precinct 5, Place 1 Judge Robert “Bobby” Gonzalez.
In other county business:
• County Commissioner Mike Pusley said he would not be pursuing the adoption of a new ordinance making it illegal to discharge firearms in or near a legally recognized subdivision after meeting with residents in the New Westlake Subdivision.
Pusley said he and other residents met with the property owner who had been conducting target practice using a dirt berm as a safety backdrop. The man was cordial, Pusley said, and offered to compromise with the residents.
The result of the meeting was that the man agreed to no longer fire rifles during his shooting practice, opting instead for handguns. He would also limit his distance from the berm while shooting.
Pusley said the compromise was met with satisfaction from residents in the subdivision.