Boiler problems delay opening of Carroll County jail addition; Detention center holding 25 more inmates than capacity allows


Unspecified boiler problems have delayed the opening of the $6.1 million addition to the Carroll County Detention Center, the second delay in as many weeks, sheriff's officials said yesterday.

A state inspector discovered problems with the boilers and did not issue certification, county officials said yesterday after a meeting with officials from CJF Inc., the Cockeysville-based general contractor.

Sheriff Kenneth L. Tregoning and Lt. Col. George R. Hardinger, warden for the county's crowded jail, could shed no light on the problem and are eager to move inmates into the facility. The inmate population yesterday was 191, 25 above operational capacity.

The addition was expected to be ready for occupancy last week but was delayed because wiring, painting and cleanup were not finished.

Tom Rio, chief of the county's Bureau of Building Construction, said he hadn't received a copy of the state inspector's report and didn't know whether the problems could be fixed quickly.

Carolyn Norris, project manager for the general contractor, Charles J. Frank, president of CJF Inc., said details were being worked out.

"We hope we can have a quick conclusion," she said. "Maybe it is something simple, but we don't know and can't say yet."

Efforts yesterday to contact the state inspector were unsuccessful.

Construction on the 100-bed addition, delayed about eight years in the design stage, ran into delays early when test borings typically done 12 feet to 20 feet below grade failed to detect tons of concrete and brick rubble.

Truckloads of the debris had to be hauled away before concrete footings for the steel girders could be poured.

The initial completion date had been set for Feb. 22, 1999.

After Tregoning and former warden Mason Waters questioned construction progress in June, county officials said the deadline for completion had been set back because of the excavation problems.

The project could further be delayed by change orders -- work requested by the county -- Ralph E. Green, chief of the county's Bureau of Permits and Inspections, said then.

The addition appeared to be nearing completion yesterday as workers cleared away debris and electrical contractors connected wires for the numerous security cameras installed within the facility.

A camera demonstration is scheduled Monday, and the floor in the work-release area was to be repainted today, said George Grohs, the contractor's job foreman.

"We will be done, but the cameras, that's the county's work," Grohs said, explaining the general contractor was not involved with the cameras.

Grohs said a number of "punch-list" items had to be completed, and he could not predict when they would be done.

Norris said she hoped to know more by the end of today.

For liability reasons, county officials decided last week not to take partial occupancy of the building.

Before that decision, Hardinger had hoped that his correctional staff would be able to move into the first floor of the two-story addition and begin searching for leftover construction materials -- short metal rods and pieces of wire -- that could be used as weapons.

"We'll just deal with this until we get to move in," Hardinger said. Yesterday's daily inmate census was above the design capacity of 124 and operating capacity of 166.

The overflow is handled by housing inmates in the jail's gymnasium and placing cots in day rooms within each unit, Hardinger said.

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