County elevator repairs addressed by supervisors

Published 12:49 am Sunday, January 21, 2018


NATCHEZ — Adams County Supervisors took the first step Friday toward approximately $60,000 of repairs to outdated elevators in county buildings.

The costs mostly apply to the elevator at the Adams County Courthouse, which Circuit Court Judge Forrest “Al” Johnson said has had “a bad reputation” for decades.

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“I just finished a two-week jury trial … and you’re talking about a problem,” Johnson said. “It was a lawsuit for damages, you had a lady that was elderly, disabled on a quad-cane, and actually, that became an issue in the trial about her ability to come up those steps with assistance.”

Johnson said the next time he would have jurors coming would be in March, and if the elevator had not been fixed by then, he would have to create a system to automatically excuse those who are unable to make it up the steps from jury duty.

Elevator Technical Service’s Bob Jones said the elevator — installed in the 1970s — recently had a valve rupture during a test while the elevator was being inspected.

Jones, who consults the county on such matters, recommended the county select one of two options: either partially fix the issue now by replacing the elevator’s power unit and a few other parts or completely bring the elevator up to contemporary standards with a total overhaul.

The former, he said, would cost upwards of $20,000 but also leave other aspects of the elevator to be handled in the future.

“With (this option), of course the power unit would still be good for 20 to 25 years. The rest could fail tomorrow,” Jones said. “It’s not that each part can’t be upgraded, but in the long run do you want to piecemeal it together as you go, or do you just want to replace all of it?”

The other option, though it carried an estimated price tag of $60,000, would alleviate any concerns about the elevator for at least 25 to 30 years, Jones said.

The supervisors discussed the options briefly and eventually decided the more encompassing option, though more expensive, had the best long-term outlook.

“If somebody has a heart attack walking up those steps that doesn’t need to be walking up, we’re going to have a mess,” Lazarus said.

Williams said he could carry out an expedited request for proposals (RFP) process and begin shopping around for bidders, which the board approved unanimously.

The repairs would take approximately four weeks to complete once crews begin the work.

Another elevator needing repair will require far less funds, but Jones said it requires more urgency.

The county’s Youth Court elevator has a structural issue that causes the right side of the elevator’s walls to move, officials said.

Jones said the project would only take approximately  eight hours and cost approximately $2,500, but he said the repairs needed to take place “just as soon as possible.”

“I don’t want it to become dislodged out of the rails … no telling what kind of damage it could do if it does become dislodged,” Jones said.

Those repairs did not require any action from the board.