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Demolition of building in Gainesville will cost more than expected
Council OKs new funds for old public safety building project
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It took more than a bulldozer to break down Gainesville's old public safety building.

In January, workers with Tristar of America began removing sections of the old jail on Jesse Jewell Parkway when they ran into a roadblock.

The building was braced by walls that ran 10 feet below the planned grading level, and parts of the building contained asbestos, which the workers had to cart to a nearby landfill for disposal.

"Every wall inside the building that was a load-bearing wall had the deep subwall, so that was a good bit of material," project manager Barclay Fouts explained to Gainesville City Council members last week.

Council members approved an additional $46,000 for the demolition project on Tuesday.

"I hate to come ask for more money," Fouts said. "Nobody wants to hear that, especially in these economic times, but it's something we couldn't get around."

Tristar contracted the project for $113,000, which included the two-story building and one-story gun range, abatement of floor tile and pipe insulation and removal of asphalt and concrete from the area. The added cost still falls below the city's original $200,000 project

"We also had to get through what looked like previous building construction, where there was a mishmash of building materials and extra concrete we had to get rid of," Fouts said.

"And as we were moving one of the retaining walls, we encountered a debris pit from the early 1900s, perhaps around the time the (1936) tornado came through."

The crew toted 61 loads of subwall and 120 loads of debris and extra construction materials to a landfill.

"We didn't want to leave this for the next person," Fouts said. "It was a pretty good bit of material that we hadn't planned on, and though we had some contingency funds built into the project, it cost a little bit more."

The Jesse Jewell Parkway building opened Oct. 31, 1975, when police, fire and municipal officials moved over from the basement of the Green Street city hall building.

Built with no windows except for the ones featured in the front doors, the building was created to be completely secure.

In November, police, fire and municipal workers moved to the city's new public safety complex on Queen City Parkway.

Now Fouts is helping Rogers Bridge Co. start the foundation for the pedestrian bridge that will span Jesse Jewell Parkway from the Georgia Mountains Center to the demolished public safety building area.

With a contract of $2.18 million, the company will build a bridge similar to the design featured on the sign at the construction site, which includes a concrete base, metal handrails and fencing along the sides. It is projected to be 450 feet long and 10 feet wide.

"We approve this resolution," Mayor Pro Tem Danny Dunagan said. "You did what you had to do to complete the project."