Town to split cost of Elkin Center repairs

By Wendy Byerly Wood -

The town of Elkin will be splitting the upfront cost of repairing floors at The Elkin Center of Surry Community College with the county and the community college, but officials hope to get that money back after work is completed.

Town Attorney Raymond “Scooter” Parker explained to commissioners Monday at the beginning of the town’s first budget workshop the history of the situation. About a year ago, he said, the tiling in The Elkin Center began buckling.

“The county wrote a letter demanding the town repair that. We wrote a letter demanding the community college repair it,” Parker said.

While the county owns the building, it is leased to the town with a lease agreement stating the town is responsible for any maintenance on the building, he explained. When the town sublet the building, at the corner of CC Camp Road and North Bridge Street, to SCC for use as The Elkin Center, the maintenance agreement was passed along to the community college.

After several letters were exchanged between the three entities, representatives of the governmental agencies met to discuss the issue.

The buckling from the tile apparently is occurring due to moisture under the tiles forming. When the work was done to plumb the building, the original concrete pad had to be opened up and now water is seeping up into the tiling from underground, Parker explained. Also, the wrong adhesive was used for the type of tiling which was laid on the floor, and he said they’ve discovered that the subcontractor who laid the tile wasn’t certified to handle that type of flooring.

An original estimate by an expert to pull up the existing tile, seal the concrete with a waterproof barrier and lay new tile came in at $120,000, reported Parker. “The community college had experts come in and do sampling that says it’s not a great deal of water, and they recommend having the waterproof sealant put on the whole pad and put tiling on that.”

He said there is some moisture detected in the carpeted area, but testing showed no health hazard or mold.

The community college used the specs and put the project out for bid, with a low bid coming in well below the estimated $120,000. The low bid of $67,000 came from Foothill Flooring of Mount Airy, Parker reported, which is the same company which laid the tile the first time.

“The county and Surry Community College feel it was not their mistake,” Parker said of Foothill Flooring’s work when the building was renovated. “They said the architect and the contractor told them what to put down.

“No matter what tile you put down, you would assume there would be no moisture and that’s not the fault of the flooring company,” he said, adding that the tile being put down this time is one the company is certified to install.

Parker said the architect and general contractor who handled the original work as well as the insurance companies have been put on notice that they are responsible. The original warranty on the floor has expired, he added.

The agreement during the joint meeting of the three entities is that each one foot one-third of the repair cost so it can be fixed, and then once the work is complete, they will go after the insurance, contractor and architect for reimbursement, Parker explained to the town commissioners.

Commissioner Dr. Skip Whitman said he didn’t think the community college should be held responsible for the cost at all, but after some discussion among the board and the attorney about how the lease is drawn up and who could be responsible, the commissioners unanimously agreed to go forward with the plan to foot a third of the cost and then see what kind of money can be recouped after the work is completed.

Wendy Byerly Wood may be reached at 336-258-4035 or on Twitter @wendywoodeditor.

By Wendy Byerly Wood

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