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Loose ends wrapped up as Jonesborough Senior Center nears completion

Tony Casey • Nov 5, 2015 at 5:51 PM

During what could be the last Jonesborough Senior Center meeting before the facility’s completion, the building’s director, Mary Sanger, asked Jonesborough Town Administrator Bob Browning what he was going to do with his time on Thursday morning instead of planning and overseeing construction of this project.

“We’ll all go to the center and hang out,” he joked.

“We do make a mean breakfast,” Sanger responded.

A more jovial and excited tone was noticeable during the Thursday morning meeting, with all the planning members of the committee going over the loose ends to be tied up for the Nov. 20 completion date. Although deadlines have come and gone in the past, Browning said this one is absolutely realistic, and the area can expect to see seniors in the location by Christmas.

“Everyone is just really proud,” Browning said. “We’re accomplishing the original goals and plans.”

One significant alteration to the original plans was cutting a $1 million kitchen addition. Browning said there was no justification for spending that kind of money, and the building will still be left with a proper kitchen. Another big change, known well by Browning, was issues with the former contractor, Rainey Contracting. Leading into the final push for completion, Jonesborough and Rainey cut ties in August, after a three-year commitment.

Landmark Construction stepped in to finish off the project after that point, and while Rainey Contracting frequently didn’t have a representative at the Jonesborough Senior Center meetings, Landmark’s Mike Price sat at the head of the table Thursday, going down a list of construction items.

Painting, gutters, roof panels, trim work and flooring were some of the listed items being sorted out moving toward that Nov. 20 completion date. Sanger, Browning, Ken Ross Architects’ C.W. Parker, town building inspector J.W. Greene and fire chief Phil Fritts went through the final touches unsure if they’d meet again before construction concludes.

Another aspect of the project Browning sees as a highlight has been the use of inmate labor, with the manpower coming from the nearby Washington County Detention Center. This helped keep the project moving and on budget at about $3 million, even during work slowdowns.

“That’s a tremendous savings to the town,” he said.

Jonesborough picked up site preparation, sidewalk installation and landscaping, while sub-contracting electrician work and other aspects of the construction were bid out. The Senior Center’s elevator is in operation, at this time being run by a handheld unit. As wiring is finished, it will go through the inspection process and be ready for the facility’s opening.

The town’s administrator is excited to finally get to the point where he can see seniors in the building, enjoying themselves in the fitness and arts and crafts room. He said they’d stuck to their original plan of not skimping on quality and feels the people who spend time their will appreciate that approach.

Email Tony Casey at [email protected]. Follow Tony Casey on Twitter @TonyCaseyJCP. Like him on Facebook at www.facebook.com/tonycaseyjournalist.

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