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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Flooded Courthouse Repair Could Cost $10 Million

Repairing the 17 floors damaged by an August flood in the federal courthouse here could cost up to $10 million, officials said Wednesday.

A broken pipe in a holding cell on the 17th floor ruptured the evening of Aug. 24, sending an estimated 8,000 gallons cascading through the south side of the building, soaking drywall, carpeting and insulation and ruining custom architectural millwork, wiring and electronics.

Before the water stopped dripping, contractors swung into action to dry out the building and begin tearing out damaged materials. Officials had refused to release an estimate of the full repair cost until Wednesday, citing federal rules governing unusual and urgent contracting situations.

"The cost of repair is high," acknowledged Jason Klumb, regional administrator for the General Services Administration. But the Thomas F. Eagleton U.S. Courthouse is a downtown landmark with special requirements, he said, where federal judges, lawyers and the public mingle with hardened criminals.

"Federal courthouses are unique buildings. This is unique among those," he said.

Officials did not have a breakdown of the specific costs of repair available Wednesday morning.

Dirk Schafer, chief operating officer of general contractor J.E. Dunn Construction, estimated that the woodwork in the building would be the largest line item in Dunn's $7.5 million portion of the job.

The courtrooms feature custom cherry veneer.

Schafer said that drywall replacement would be the next biggest expense.

Schafer estimated that the repair would require 60-80 workers, all local to the area.

Klumb said that the GSA hoped that the job would be completed by the summer of 2012.

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