China Grove town hall staff may have to relocate

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 29, 2012

By Shavonne Potts
CHINA GROVE — Town hall staff may have to relocate sooner than expected since a temporary Centerview Street location will need to be used for a new health clinic.
The town has been renting the South Rowan Medical Mall at 308 E. Centerview St. since February 2011. A few weeks ago, town officials were informed Rowan Regional Medical Center will use that facility beginning in October.
China Grove has been renting the facility on a month-by-month basis and had planned to move into the new location on Main Street by the spring, but construction issues have delayed that plan.
MV Momentum Construction of Charlotte was awarded the contract as the lowest bidder. The project was estimated to cost just more than $1.7 million. A U.S. Department of Agriculture loan approved in March 2010 takes effect after construction.
Project Manager James Holder said months before construction even began crews ran into a few snags.
Weather was a complication, and a few companies subcontracted for specialized services shut down, including a plumber and steel fabricator.
A grading contractor didn’t honor the contract and a cabinet contractor was not able to continue with the project, Holder said.
Another obstacle was uneven flooring in the buildings. The fire station used to be an automotive dealership. The uneven flooring had to be corrected so it will connect easily with the newer parts of the building.
Regardless of the delays, Holder is confident the crew will begin the final phase of the project in the coming weeks.
On Wednesday the crew continued electrical work and planned to move fire trucks into the new bays soon.
Holder said Fire Chief Jeff Gledhill was very involved in the design of the station, which will include lots of energy efficient, high-tech equipment and simple ways to make getting to a fire easier.
The station will include a mechanism that opens bay doors automatically when an alarm sounds. The fire trucks will be equipped to be remotely started while firefighters gear up.
The station will also have a fire exhaust removal system, which uses a hose attached to the truck.
If rains or other conditions prevent firefighters from washing the trucks outdoors, they can do so inside.
“When we are finished, it will be something that the town will be proud of,” Holder said.
There is also an oil separator system that will funnel and filter the oil, cleaning the contaminants.
“There’s a lot of systems that have to come together,” Holder said.
The far left houses the bay for trucks and will also display a vintage fire truck. The center, which in part was the former police department, will now hold a weight room, sleeping quarters, a meeting and training room and a public entrance. The far right of the building, which now holds the fire station, will eventually be town hall.
Interim Town Manager Ken Deal said one possible plan is to obtain temporary occupancy of the fire department side of the building and have the town’s mail and the computer system transferred to the Main Street location.
Since the project has been unexpectedly delayed, Deal said, the town could opt to seek damages from the contractor at a rate of $300 a day.
Deal said the town would have to delay furniture and other items that it had intended to be inside the facility by a certain date. The town would likely have to find a storage facility to keep the furniture until it can be moved.
“They are now projecting Sept. 15 or 20,” Deal said of the completion date.
As of the last calculation, that could mean damages of about $75,000 for the town.
The primary care clinic, made possible through a grant from the Human Resources and Services Administration, is a collaboration with the Cabarrus Community Health Centers and Rowan Regional Medical Center.
Total funding of $379,167 has been awarded to establish the clinic. The grant is contingent upon a 120 day start, meaning the hospital has until October to be up and ready. The grant was awarded June 11.
Rick Parker, senior director of professional and support services, said the hospital is working closely with China Grove officials. Rowan Regional President Dari Caldwell said the clinic is important for the county. The clinic will be a place for people with Medicaid and those uninsured to receive care, she said.
In 2010, Caldwell said, the hospital partnered with Cabarrus County on a similar grant and did not get it. When the opportunity came about again, the two entities applied again.
The clinic must continue to meet the criteria and can reapply to renew funding.
Rep. Larry Kissell helped acquire the funding.
“The collaboration between Cabarrus and Rowan counties will bring doctors to those who do not have the opportunity to see a doctor and will strengthen the services provided across the region,” Kissell said in a press release.
Parker said the clinic will have established partnerships within the community. The clinic will be able to work with the Department of Social Services and work to provide transportation for patients.
The clinic will also allow patients who are eligible for Medicaid but haven’t applied to apply on site as well as link them with other services including dental care and case management.
“The Board and staff of the Cabarrus Community Health Centers are pleased to have the opportunity to provide medical care to low-income Rowan County residents who have difficulty accessing primary care services,” Lamar Barrier, chairman of the Cabarrus Community Health Centers board, said in a statement.
South Rowan Medical Mall last operated medical offices in 2009.
Contact reporter Shavonne Potts at 704-797-4253.