Two years after it was built, Spokane Valley’s $14.2 million City Hall is already deteriorating, with cracking concrete, drywall, mortar and brick, windows unsealing and water getting into the City Council chambers.
But the city has hired a consultant to repair the damage.
The city filed an insurance claim in February against the company it contracted with to build city hall, Meridian Construction, saying there was no documentation that the soil beneath the building was compacted properly.
With that claim, the city hopes to get fully reimbursed for the repairs that began on Thursday.
City Spokesman Jeff Kleingartner said the city has not yet completed a cost estimate for the project, but it anticipates Meridian Construction’s insurance company or the insurance companies of contractors Meridian hired will cover the costs.
Spokane Valley Mayor Rod Higgins said the work shouldn’t disrupt city business and that it won’t cost taxpayers in the long run.
“We have to upfront the money,” he said, “but we expect it to be fully reimbursed to fix this problem.”
He said the city, insurance companies and consultants are still getting to the bottom of the cause of the settling soil, but the city wanted to fix the structural issues before it became worse.
“These are things that we don’t think it would be prudent to test,” he said.
Spokane Valley City Councilwoman Brandi Peetz praised city staff for their work to come up with a solution, saying the planned repairs should be a “forever fix” to the cracking and structural issues in City Hall.
“It’s unfortunate we have to remedy anything in the first place, but as soon as we were aware of it, (staff) were on top of it,” she said.
Meridian Construction was tasked with building City Hall and with supervising the companies it subcontracted to do sections of the work, including a company named Piersol. Meridian Construction President Mark D’Agostino said his company and Piersol, as well as their insurance companies, are resolving the issue in “an acceptable way with the city.” He referred further questions to the company’s lawyers, who did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Repairs will include installing nine micropiles with brackets to the foundation wall, which should stabilize it. The micropiles are encased in steel and filled with rebar and grout, and will extend 30 feet into the deeper, undisturbed soil.
The city also will remove all the vegetation and landscaping from around the front of City Hall so the area can be excavated. In addition, a new wall will be built inside the council chambers to protect the inside of the building from the elements as the damaged sheet rock and concrete floor slab are demolished. The city’s consultants will also complete an inspection before the new sheet rock and concrete are installed.
Crews will also repair any mortar that was cracked due to the soil settling.
A sculpture in front of city hall will be stored during this project, and the landscaping will be replanted in the spring.
Kleingartner said staff anticipates work on the building will be completed just before Thanksgiving.
Editor’s note: This story was corrected on September 27, 2019 to reflect that a consultant was hired to repair the damage, not Meridian.
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