Workers on new courthouse push to make up lost time

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

In recent days, a framework of steel supports has been rapidly rising from the giant hole in the ground at the corner of Independence and Frederick streets in Cape Girardeau. But a project official says that those workers will be pushing to get the remaining metal for the new federal courthouse up even faster in an attempt to get a project that is almost two months behind back on schedule.

Dennis Miller, project manager for the General Services Administration, said that the erection of the steel that will support the north section of the courthouse represents the completion of about 20 percent of the total project, which began Feb. 29. In addition to the steelwork, Miller said, the perimeter foundation walls were finished two weeks ago and workers are pouring the last concrete floor slabs to complete the basement.

The project's visible progress "really gives you a feel for the overall size and shape of the entire building," Miller said.

But despite that recent progress, Miller said the project is still about 60 days behind schedule because of difficulties that arose during the drilling of the foundation. Miller said that inconsistencies in the rock made the drilling take longer than expected. Miller said the crew still has six or seven piers left to drill on the east side, but that is a small percentage of the 160-plus piers that have already been completed.

Ground was broken on the $49.3 million construction project -- which will replace the 36-year-old courthouse at 339 Broadway -- on Nov. 3, 2003. At that time, the GSA set a target date of November 2005 for completion, allowing the courthouse's 97 employees to move in and be operational by January or February 2006. Miller said that date is still the goal and that the crews will attempt to make up the lost time in other aspects of the construction, like the current steelwork.

trehagen@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 137

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