Courthouse Opening Delayed Again

Courthouse Opening Delayed Again
By: Mike Shain

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. - Federal offices will not be moving into the new courthouse this month.  Opening of the $62 million dollar building has been delayed until spring.  The General Services Administration points to "design, construction and contract execution deficiencies" for the delay.

Bradley Scott, Regional Administrator for the GSA, said it's disappointing but adds that a few months delay in opening a building that will be used for 75 years or longer is not a long time. 
Scott said problems must be fixed before United States Marshals and judges start using the building.

Inspections have identified insufficient lighting and door locks associated with the prisoner movement securing systems, inefficient cooling systems in a computer room and a damaged elevator.  Repairing these problems will add another $2 million to the cost of the building, considered a high-tech courthouse that is an example for the nation.

There is also concern with the building's roof but Scott said that is not related to the delay.  The courthouse should be ready for moving in by spring.

Scott said previous delays encountered on the Cape Girardeau project have led to changes that will prevent similar problems on other building projects.

In 2002, the original design for the courthouse was scrapped, causing a 13-month delay.  In 2004, the price of steel jumped, causing some changes in interior structural steel designs.  That same year, problems with the soil caused delays with pouring the foundation piers added another five months to the construction.

The total project cost for the courthouse will be $62 million. It will be 154,000 square feet and provide three courtrooms.