The CPST Commission hears the first series of proposals
NEWBERRY COUNTY — The 2022 Capital Projects Sales Tax Commission heard the first round of project presentations at its April 4 meeting, with the people behind the projects vying for inclusion in the upcoming referendum (which Newberry County residents will vote on in November).
There are 17 potential projects for the referendum, with a total request of more than $45 million, according to Deputy County Administrator Karen Brehmer.
“We’re looking at maybe $30 million, right now we don’t have more of a hard number than about $30 million,” she said.
Early projects to feature included Newberry County – County Courthouse IT/Network/Security Improvements, Newberry County and Newberry Museum – Roof Replacement and HVAC Improvements, Newberry County – Mawsons Way Improvements and Extension, Town of Little Mountain – Little Mountain Reunion Park Amphitheater, Town of Prosperity – Prosperity well rehabilitation and water reservoir construction.
County Courthouse IT/Network/Security Improvements
Ervin West, Newberry County Facilities Manager, gave details of this project, including the project price of $295,000.
This project would include moving equipment to the third floor, designing a new VC3 network system, new equipment (racks, switchgear, cabling, termination hardware), building renovations, testing and commissioning.
West has addressed existing issues with the system currently in place, including insufficient space, damp and dimly lit area (the basement), lack of air conditioning, light switches near maximum capacity, difficulty in accessing to equipment for repair and maintenance.
“The courthouse was designed/built in the 1920s, in the 1920s they didn’t know anything about computers, networks, computing and the internet. As it happened in Newberry County, it happened one at a time,” West said. “The courthouse was not originally designed for this, never space for a network room. The first guys who built one built it in a closet.
In fact, the network room on the first floor is in the judge’s chambers and the lawyer’s office on the second floor, both in closets. The optical fiber arrives from the basement.
“Closets are used for storage, not for computing and network (rooms), they’re meant to go in an air-conditioned, well-protected server room,” West said.
Commissioner Alison Johnson asked West how long it would last. West said it would be long-term, adding that the important part of the upgrade is the grow space, which is available on the third floor.
Newberry Museum Upgrades
West outlined the proposed project involving the museum, which would include roof replacement and HVAC upgrades, at a cost of $815,000.
As for the roof, this project would remove the existing clay tile roof and replace it with new, similar clay tiles. This would include repairing the roof decking, re-coating the membrane, and reinstating the internal gutter.
According to West, the current roof was made in 1911 and the tiles are worn, cracked and dislodged, creating leaks that will continue until the roof is replaced.
Existing tiles once removed can be recycled or reused, there will be decking repairs (if needed), a new ice and water protection membrane will be installed to further provide water tightness, then new clay tiles will be installed. West added that the upper middle TPO membrane will also be replaced, along with reworked internal gutters to provide adequate drainage and new membrane and flashing installed for the entire perimeter of the building.
West estimates the new roof should last 100 years.
When it comes to HVAC improvements, two issues need to be addressed:
1. Higher humidity beyond museum standards, especially in summer.
2. Warm air rising to the ceiling and cold air to floor level.
The proposed action plan is to install large dehumidifiers connected to the main system located high in the rafters and one in the basement. This, per West, is to aid in the removal of humidity without excessive cooling with AC. A high speed fan and a wall chase will be installed to facilitate air circulation. These two proposed changes will decrease humidity and improve air circulation.
Commission President Lisa Toland asked if replacing the roof would contribute to the cost of air conditioning. While West said yes, a museum representative said it wouldn’t help with airflow.
Relocation of the Public Safety/Friendly Fire Complex
Three Chiefs presented a project that would create a public safety complex (located in the former Adelaide Street Exhibition Grounds) which would house the Newberry Rescue Squad and the Friendly Fire Station, at a cost of $7.75 million.
Tommy Long, director of public safety for Newberry County, said this new complex will provide a full commercial kitchen to be able to provide meals during training and EOC operations (such as natural disasters). This complex would also provide bunk rooms for people stationed at the complex.
“This will provide a training room which can also be used as a backup EOC, should the need arise. We will also have the flexibility to add full-time staff as emergency services continue to grow over time,” Long said.
Daniel Werts, head of the Friendly Fire Station, said moving the Friendly Fire Department would take them out of the downtown corridor, for traffic purposes, and give the station much-needed space. Werts added that their current station needs repairs.
Chris Johnson, leader of the Newberry Rescue Squad, said a new location will allow them to properly store medical supplies, reduce response time, help with recruitment and retention, and increase training opportunities. throughout the county.
As an added benefit, they stated that Newberry County Hazmat (which has no physical station) could then be housed in what would become the old Newberry County Rescue Squad building.
Mawsons Way improvements and extension
Newberry County Director of Economic Development Rick Farmer presented a project that would improve Mawsons Way (located in the Newberry County Industrial Park) and create an extension. Farmer said the cost of the upgrades and expansion would be $4.4 million; however, he said he received a verbal commitment from the state for a $2.5 million grant.
Farmer gave some details about the road, which he says was built in the mid-1990s and hasn’t undergone any significant upgrades he could find.
He said the road was in poor condition and the park’s population and traffic had tripled since 2017.
“This road is used by more than 2,200 employees per day, with more than 300 truck movements per day,” he said.
The upgrades would be around $1.6 million.
The extension would increase entry and exit security by providing a second exit from the park, with a traffic light there.
“A much safer exit for Komatsu employees, who currently have to turn left on SC 219, facing a hill that creates a blind spot,” he said.
Farmer said the expansion would open up new sites for economic development as the park expands. The cost of the extension is around $2.8 million.
Toland asked Farmer which industries would use the road to pay for the improvements and extension; to which Farmer said he does not know of any examples of people being asked to pay for a public road.
Little Mountain Reunion Park Amphitheater
Mayor Jana Jayroe presented a project for an amphitheater to be built in Reunion Park for 1.925 million dollars.
“We would like to build an amphitheater on three lands owned by the city, we bought these lands five years ago. We slowly cleared them for some type of construction,” she said.
Jayroe said the project would involve clearing land, building the amphitheater and adding sidewalks, bathrooms, electricity and fencing. She added that it would be grass seats, not cement.
“We would have to extend electricity and sewage, which is not far,” she said.
Rehabilitation of prosperity wells and construction of water reservoirs
Mayor Derek Underwood presented this utility project at a cost of $4.563 million.
Currently, Prosperity City serves more than 800 water customers and provides standpipe fire protection to 1,292 residents. NCWSA is 100% utilized for all water supplied to the city at significant cost; however, the city has duplicate potential drinking water sources.
“However, these assets’ facilities and production equipment are currently offline, aging, and in dire need of upgrades and rehabilitation to maintain environmental compliance and improve public health,” the submission form reads.
These upgrades will be managed quickly to mitigate any interference in the production of water to be transported to customers. With system upgrades, tracking system water losses and non-revenue water will be easier to track and minimize. This will reduce redundant costs and increase system revenue, helping to increase the sustainability of the utility.
“This estimate includes diesel generators to help ensure system integrity under emergency conditions. Also included is a 500,000 gallon elevated water tank that will be located at a wellhead in town. This will ensure the availability of water for fire suppression throughout the city and provide the opportunity to improve our ISO rating and DHEC compliance,” the submission form states.
Contact Andrew Wigger at 803-768-3122 or on Twitter @TheNBOnews.