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Harrison Township awards bid for work at senior center

Remodeling work ongoing

By: Julie Snyder | Mount Clemens - Clinton - Harrison Journal | Published March 29, 2019

Photo by Julie Snyder

HARRISON TOWNSHIP — While remodeling work continues at the Tucker Senior Center in the kitchen area, township officials have taken it upon themselves to solicit bids to have two aging doors at the center replaced.

This latest project comes after township officials and members of the Board of Trustees were informed by some concerned residents in early March that the work to improve the kitchen area left much to be desired.

“The doors and frames of the doors on the north and east side of the building are steel in construction and have been damaged due to probably sun exposure, salt, and just their ages,” Harrison Township Supervisor Ken Verkest said.

Verkest said three bids were solicited, with two of the companies offering full replacement of the doors, and one with just a partial replacement plan. The board unanimously approved on March 25 the lowest bid of $3,338 from FJF Door Sales in Clinton Township to replace the doors and frames, with some hardware remaining. The company is also responsible for the disposal of the old doors.

The work was slated to commence immediately after a contract was signed.

Verkest went on to update residents about the additional work that is ongoing at the senior center, including upgrades that are  not part of the project that was contracted out, which includes replacement of the steel doors.

“This project certainly had some areas where we had concerns with work that wasn’t done either properly to code or in a satisfactory manner,” he said.

Verkest said some of those issues were obvious, including how the water lines were routed. They have since been rerouted and plumbed with copper for sufficient insulation. Other warranty items being addressed by the contractor include caulking work, leveling a countertop, tile replacement and correcting another counter.

“The punch list is not closed,” Verkest said. “The work is not complete.”

The township utilized a $60,061 Community Development Block Grant to pay for the work in the center’s kitchen area. Elgin Builders, of Detroit, was the lowest bidder with $97,000, and renovation work began last summer. Verkest has said there was a 10 percent contingency added to the bid, and after a minor error was discovered in the architectural plans, an additional $1,000 was added for a final cost of $98,000. He said the additional funds came from the township’s budget.

David Nunner, an engineer from Wade Trim who has been contracted as the township engineer, was paid $10,000 to oversee the project. Wade Trim was paid $4,600 to design and bid out the project.

Verkest said that oftentimes a contractor hired for CDBG-funded projects will hire subcontractors under a prevailing wage contract to complete the work. He said that while Elgin was responsible for the project, the company did use a subcontractor on some of the work.

Verkest said no mold was ever located inside the senior center kitchen.

“Nothing is dangerous or hazardous,” he said last month.

Also still being addressed is the issue with the parking lot lights not coming on in the evenings. Verkest said an electrician came out and fixed the problem, but the lights continued to not work again a short time after. The electrician, who was out of town last week, was scheduled to return to readdress the problem. He will also reconnect power to three exit signs that are not lighting, Verkest said, adding that some of the siding on the center building — an area not listed on the scope of work — will need to be replaced in the near future.

Board Trustee Bill Bitonti said they should use this project as a learning experience.

“This board is collectively responsible for the work that is done,” he said. “We could have collectively done a better job of monitoring this, at least toward the end. We need to use this as a learning experience to do better on these kind of projects going forward.”

Resident Lori Dennis, who approached the board during its March 11 meeting with concerns about the condition of the work, said the contractor should have never been paid ahead of the work being completed in the first place. Verkest said the CDBG grant stipulated that payment be made ahead of the work.

Regardless, Dennis said she’s glad work is ongoing at the center.

“I’m very happy they’re finally getting it done,” she said. “But it’s very sad that someone had to bring it to their attention, otherwise it would have never gotten done.”