Kingsport Times-News: Hawkins County playing catch-up on maintaining its aging facilities
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Hawkins County playing catch-up on maintaining its aging facilities

Jeff Bobo • Mar 12, 2019 at 1:20 PM

ROGERSVILLE — When you're operating one of the most historic counties in Tennessee which contains the state's second-oldest chartered municipality, it stands to reason that maintaining old facilities is going to become an ongoing and costly prospect.

In February, the Hawkins County Commission's Public Buildings Committee agreed to move forward with an estimated $6,500 insulation project in the attic of the historic Hawkins County Courthouse.

The addition of 12 inches of insulation with an R-38 rating will hopefully help save taxpayers dollars in the form of heating and cooling that escapes though the ceiling.

Last year the courthouse electric bill was $22,600, and county leaders are hoping the insulation job will pay for itself within a few years.

Unfortunately, most pending county building projects won't pay for themselves, and new courthouse insulation barely scratches the surface of the level of work that needs to be completed at county facilities.

Public Building Committee Chairman Rick Brewer said some of these projects are long overdue.

"I took a day and toured a lot of our county buildings," Brewer said. "Not all of them. I've still got to take another day or two more days. There's a lot of things I discovered the day I toured that I didn't know. We've got a lot of buildings, and this committee has got a lot of responsibility."

Brewer added, "Most people don't want to hear this, but there's a lot of things that have been put off, and put off, and put off that we're going to have to take care of. We're going to have to spend some money on these buildings soon. If we don't we're going to be spending a tremendous amount."

At its February meeting, Alana Robers, county buildings manager, presented the Public Buildings Committee a list of projects needed in several different facilities, including roofs, HVAC systems, security upgrades and other high-dollar projects.

The Administration Building

The building on Washington Street in Rogersville that houses the county mayor's office and commission committee meeting room will require mandatory ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) changes to be designed and approved by December and completed by 2023.

Roberts has tentatively listed that work to be completed in 2019-20 including a new handicapped-accessible rap and entrance and upgrading the front steps, which don't meet code.

Other Administration Building upgrades on the priority list include: upgrading the HVAC system; upgrading the fire panel and adding monitoring to the 40-year-old fire alarms; installing a new security system; and relocating county phone system components to the Administration Building, which has a generator so the system will continue to work in case of a power outage.

The Courthouse Annex

The elevator controller is 20 years old and has reached the end of its life cycle.

The carpeting in hallways, offices and restrooms is 20 years old and is proposed to be replaced with tile.

All exterior windows are wood-framed and need to be replaced and caulked.

The building exterior hasn't been painted for 20 years and needs to be painted.

The proposed security system for the courthouse and annex, which was designed by the sheriff's office, also needs to be implemented.

The Church Hill Health Department

A top priority is a new roof for most of the facility except for the 2015 WIC addition.

The parking lot needs to be sealed and striped; and the fire alarm needs a fire panel and monitoring.

The Rogersville Health Department

The existing roof was damaged by storms and is in the process of being replaced.

The parking lot needs some minor patches, as well as new sealer and striping.

The black iron plumbing system is aging and deteriorating, and some pipes have cracked. The entire sewer system needs to be replaced with a more modern material.

The telephone system is 20 years old and some parts can no longer be obtained. A new system connecting Rogersville and Church Hill is being investigated.

The facility is also in need of a fire alarm panel and monitoring.

H.B. Stamps Public Library/Senior Center

The library reading room needs to be repaired or re-designed. The wood has deteriorated and is in poor condition, and in some places the window glass is loose. Thermal window installation is recommended as part of the project.

Doors to the library and adjacent Rogersville Senior Center also need to be replaced.

Also, the Senior Center membership has outgrown the size of the facility it shares with the library and is in need of a new, larger venue.

Kenner House and Carriage House

Rogersville is looking to partner with the county to obtain matching grants for the purpose of renovating the 180-year-old historic house.

Hawkins County Justice Center

The commission is already in the design phase of a state mandated wastewater system to screen out garbage being flushed down the jail cell commodes and causing problems with the Rogersville sewer system.

The parking lot is in need of repaving and striping, and a security fence and electronic gate have been proposed for staff parking.

Also, the roof is nine years old and the warranty expires in 2025. The company that maintains the roof has stated the roof is not in good condition.

Laurel Run Park

A shoreline preservation project is underway.

The park also needs new playground equipment and a new septic system or public sewer line access.

Basketball and tennis courts have large cracks that may be a safety hazard and are in need of being repaved.

St. Clair Park

The playground is too small and needs to be expanded.

Basketball and tennis court surfaces are cracked and need to be repaved. The tennis courts need to be re-striped.

The Hawkins County Airport

The 50-year-old terminal building needs a new roof and paint, and the maintenance building needs a new roof.

The fuel farm needs to be re-plumbed, painted and new labels installed.


 

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