September 1, 2014

Elyria
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Elyria would cash in on late court

New municipal court currently off schedule; fines loom for builder

ELYRIA — Delays in the construction of the new $10.4-million Elyria Municipal Court building, along with a settlement from a lawsuit over construction problems at the new City Hall building, will bring some extra money to the city.
Mayor Bill Grace said Wednesday that delays caused by bad weather slowed construction of the new Municipal Court building. The expected completion date is now Nov. 1, or 51 days past the original completion date of Sept. 11, he said.
The city’s contract with Mosser Construction of Fremont stipulates a penalty of $300 a day for each day past the scheduled completion date will be paid to the city.  If the building is completed by Nov. 1, the company will have to pay the city $15,300, which, the mayor says, is fine with him.
“It would be a positive cash flow for the city,” Grace said. “We can use the cash. I’d just as soon have the cash as be in the building in September.”
The company could finish before Nov. 1.
David Blumfeldt, the building’s project manager for Mosser Construction, said Thursday he believes the work can be completed by mid-October.
“We reviewed things, and we think we can better that schedule. We’re shooting to be done before the middle of October,” Blumfeldt said.
The company would still have to pay a penalty, but it would be cheaper than paying workers overtime in an attempt to make up for lost time.
 “Overtime doesn’t work, anyway,” Blumfeldt said. “If you tell a guy he’s going to work 10 hours the next two weeks, he slows down to conserve his energy. In construction work, overtime does nothing more than spend your money and give you less production.”
Ground for the building, at the northwest corner of Broad Street and West Avenue, was broken in August 2006.
The building is being financed with $9.1 million in notes that will be paid back over 25 years through court costs. The remaining money will come from five years of collections that have built up in the court construction fund. No taxpayer money is going into the project.
Ted Pileski, city auditor, said the court’s construction fund currently totals $561,000, excluding the borrowed money.
Municipal Court is currently housed in the leaky Sears building at 328 Broad St.
In other news, Grace said a settlement is near in a $2.5-million lawsuit the city filed May 31, 2005, against Clark & Post Architects of Lorain.
“The lawyers are drafting the language now,” Grace said, but would not reveal the details until the settlement is final. “An agreement isn’t an agreement until it’s in writing.”
The city’s lawsuit claimed the architects failed to evaluate conditions at the 139-year-old City Hall and misled the city into incorporating old City Hall and the Turner Block buildings on Court Street into the new City Hall.
The suit claims the project, which was to have cost $8.3 million, ended up costing $13.3 million.
Contact Bette Pearce at 329-7148 or bpearce@chroniclet.com.