Russell: Augusta municipal building ‘not up to current code’

News 12 First at Five / Monday, July 30, 2012

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- A planned renovation of the Augusta Municipal building has a hit a major roadblock. The building is “not up to current code.”

The city is working on a plan to fix the problem.

"It's not a flip of the coin and say it would be nice," said City Administrator Fred Russell. "It's something we need to do."

The building was slated for a $20 million renovation.

"I just have a hard time recommending we spend that much money on a building that doesn't meet the current code," Russell said. "We're going to come back with another plan."

We snagged an exclusive interview with architect Joe Gamble.

"The elevators are not in compliance?“ we asked Gamble.

“Not right now,” replied Gamble, "no. They are not."

The elevators are 49 inches instead of the expected 52 inches.

"How serious is this?” we asked Gamble.

“Well, if you are in a wheelchair," Gamble said, "it could be very serious when you are trying to leave the building. We want to make sure that the building is safe for the people that are using the building. We want to make sure that the building is up to code."

Russell says the needed improvements won’t come cheap.

"It's not going to be minor stuff,” Russell said. “It is big dollars to fix it."

The administrator expects to spend at least $5 million more than first thought.

"We just want to make sure that we do this building right,” Russell said. “Our goal is to fix it so that it last another 50 years.”

The administrator plans to present a plan to commissioners in the next two weeks.

The administrator says the 50-year-old building that has been grandfathered in over time. Russell says with the improvements comes a need to bring the building up to “current code.”


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