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Divide County Courthouse construction on schedule

Posted 10/11/16 (Tue)

Divide County Courthouse construction on schedule

By Brad  Nygaard
The weather has changed dramatically in the past week -- from summery highs to wintery lows -- but it hasn’t slowed down construction at the Divide County Courthouse. That fact makes Mike Ragsdale very happy.
“We’re right where we’re supposed to be with the overall schedule, even with delays for rain, and all that,” he said.
Ragsdale is the field project manager for Construction Engineers, Inc. That means he’s in charge of coordinating every phase of the $10 million undertaking.
Currently, crews are installing steel beams that will provide support for the floors, and make up the structure of  a new entrance on the building’s west side. Those beams are attached to the pre-cast concrete walls erected earlier. Ragsdale calls it “heavy work.” 
“There’s still a good three to four weeks of that left,” he said.
It’s important to get the heavy work done, good weather or not, because the roof can’t go on without steel. 
“It should be done by the end of October, and the first week in November we should start the roofers,” he said. “We expect to be working on getting ‘dried in’ the month of November.
“Dried in” is the term Ragsdale uses to denote the point at which roofing materials are up and wet weather no longer comes inside the building.
“That should be completed right around Thanksgiving,” he said.
But even before the roof is up, concrete work will start on the lower level.  
Ragsdale said plans call for each floor to have from four to six inches of concrete.  The upper floors are supported by a steel deck.  
“It takes about a week and a half per level to get each of those levels poured out,” he said.
Concrete pouring should be finished around Thanksgiving, as well.
At a meeting with Divide County Commissioners last week, Ragsdale gave an overall construction update and also explained a change on the windows.
Window installation should start in December and Ragsdale said the supplier was contacted recently, to come take measurements.
“I would guess six to eight  weeks from now we’ll be installing all the windows,” he said.
Window materials will arrive on site and be assembled on site, including inserting the glass.  Ragsdale said this method provides a product just as good as the factory completed windows that are simply inserted into an open space.
“That way you can set the frames in, recess all of your fasteners, and then cover it up with trim pieces, so you never see the fastener locations.”
He said this approach gives a more finished appearance.
Besides appearance, assembling windows on site versus at a factory will save roughly $15,000 from the original bid.  Ragsdale said cheaper doesn’t mean lesser quality. 
“I do want to reaffirm that the quality of the window is equal or better,” he said.
All the glass work will be an exact match, he added, giving the finished exterior a better appearance.
Electrical work should begin the week of Oct. 17 along with the beginning of the flooring. Ragsdale said it’s not unusual to begin that work before the building is dried in. Especially at this time of year, he said, keeping to the schedule is important.
“We actually plan to turn the addition over in June, so people can move into their new spaces,” he said.
“After that we’ll do a little remodeling in the existing spaces, and have it finished in time for the August celebration.”
Plans call for the dedication of the new addition during Crosby’s 2017 Celebration, “100 Years and Building,” Aug. 4, 5 and 6, 2017.