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County office building in need of emergency repair

Officials cut the ribbon in November 2018 on the Fulton County Office Building front entrance renovation project grand opening in Johnstown. (The Leader-Herald/Michael Anich)

JOHNSTOWN — The fairly new front entrance to the Fulton County Office Building has to undergo emergency limestone repairs thanks to some winter weather problems.

County Highway and Facilities Superintendent Mark Yost recently reported on the issue to the Board of Supervisors’ Public Works Committee at the building.

The committee authorized over $14,000 in repairs — with final approval likely Monday by the full board.

In 2018, the main entrance to the County Office Building, 223 W. Main St., was reconstructed. The $479,000 project also included a new handicap accessible ramp.

Yost told supervisors that due to apparent water infiltration and freeze expansion, one large piece of limestone has cracked in several places. He said efflorescence has developed on vertical limestone panels, mortar joints have become loose, and parts of the steel railing system have deteriorated.

“I recommend we make these repairs as soon as possible,” Yost said.

He suggested that to prevent any further damage, he said.

The county official said his department received a $14,096 quote from R&B Construction of Hudson Falls. Yost said the company will replace broken limestone, remove efflorescence, pressure wash and seal the limestone, rake out and replace mortar joints, and make repairs to railing items.

Yost said an insurance claim will be filed and should cover most of the cost, subject to a $5,000 deductible.

When asked by supervisors why the problem wasn’t anticipated, Yost said he wasn’t entirely sure. He said he wasn’t sure if there was a design flaw, construction error or oversight error.

“We’re kind of examining the way the railings fit into the stone,” said county Administrative Officer Jon Stead.

With water infiltration, he said the “best guess right now” is the stone may have needed to be sealed better.

“It’s a big piece of limestone,” Yost said.

He said the cost of the repairs may have to come out of county contingency, but he wasn’t sure yet.

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