|Sun, Sep 24, 2017 03:53 AM
|Wednesday, March 8, 2017 issue
|Architect feels the heat from Lawrence court|
Delays in community center project stir ire
LOUISA — An architect who was hired for the 23,000 square-foot community center for Lawrence County came under fire Monday by the fiscal court, which wanted to know why construction is three months behind.
During the meeting, architect Randall Burchett was accused of keeping county officials in the dark on decisions involving the center.
Judge-Executive Phil Carter said he has had no communication with Burchett since he took office in January. Burchett was scheduled to attend last month’s fiscal court meeting but did not, apologizing Monday and saying he had car trouble while on his way to the meeting.
Burchett said one of the reasons the construction is behind was because of poor soil, a significant slope and wet weather. He also requested that the court come up with an additional $63,000 for site work, which didn’t set well with Magistrate Gary Nelson.
“You oversee the project and it’s up to you to determine if the soil is in good condition,” Nelson told Burchett. “You knew that the slope was there when the project started, and we shouldn’t have to pay you for problems that you knew existed.”
Burchett said the property next to Preece Cemetery needs to be dug up and re-compacted, which the fiscal court agreed to as long as the county doesn’t have to pay for it.
“We’re not paying for that,” said Nelson. “This is the first time you have come to us and told us there was any type of problem.”
Carter complained that he has tried many times to get in touch with Burchett and can never reach him and that the architect never returns phone calls.
“Your performance in the past has been unsatisfactory,’ Carter said.
Burchett admitted to being at fault and that he has failed at times to live up to his responsibilities.
“I guess the only thing I can do now is prove myself to the fiscal court,” said Burchett.
He said he will try to get construction started this week and promised the court he would attend every court meeting to keep members updated.
The community center will have offices for Department for Job and Family Services, adult literacy programs and other agencies.