Construction on the new boat launch on Boyce Drive was going along as planned until just about an hour before the city of Rhinelander Parks, Buildings and Grounds Committee met Monday to hear an update on the project.
At that time, Jim Bollmann of MSA Professional Services, the firm designing the project, had to be the bearer of bad news.
"It was going good until about an hour ago," Bollmann informed the committee. "Long story short, they were doing just fine, ... but the restrooms showed up (Monday) at about 10 o'clock and they tried to set it about 3 o'clock and, long story short, they dropped it from about a foot or 18 inches or so."
The "they" Bollmann was referring to is Janke General Contractors, Inc. Bollmann said he didn't know exactly how serious the damage to the $41,000 prefabricated restroom facility was, but after a preliminary inspection, he said he could see cracks in all four corners of the building.
"Something wasn't right. I'm no crane expert, but it dropped and it did damage to the restroom," he said.
"They used to come in panels and then stand them up, but they've gone to a full-on prefabricated type setting that came on the truck. It stressed it. How much, I don't really know, ... but all four corners have visible cracks."
Public Works Director Tim Kingman was also able to briefly review the damage. He said it's possible that the structure could be repaired on-site but noted that the city has no obligation to accept the building.
"There was a mishap. If we weren't talking about something that was prefabricated, normally in construction they would take it to the side and patch it and repair it to the way it was and no one would be any the wiser. But, because it is a preassembled unit and there are stress fractures in the upper corners of the walls ... there are some concerns," he said.
"Nobody's defined what the damage is at all yet, but there is some visual indication that there's a problem there. ... It may be able to be fixed out in the field."
"There's visual damage to it. The city doesn't have any obligation to accept something like this," he added.
"I think it really is a borderline case. I think it may be able to be fixed, but the safest approach to this problem is not to accept it."
Committee chairperson Sherrie Belliveau agreed.
"It seems to me that if they dropped it, they should replace it," she said. "It's like a new car. If they were delivering my car by helicopter and they dropped it and smushed it, I would say ... bring me another car."
Belliveau then made a motion to not accept the facility unless it can be repaired to factory standards.
Before a vote could be taken, however, City Administrator Blaine Oborn suggested caution. He suggested the matter be forwarded on to the City Council to give city officials more time to investigate the damage and determine options.
"We could bring this directly to the council and that will give us another two weeks to evaluate," he said.
The committee took Oborn's suggestion. The issue will now be brought before the council after city officials complete their investigation.
Part of the investigation will include looking into whether waiting on a new restroom facility will cause the opening of the launch to be delayed. The launch could be opened without the restrooms, but part of the construction includes paving a way to the launch.
"I doubt very much Janke will try this again. I think they'll hire a crane, which would be a bigger crane. I'm not so sure we want that sitting on brand new asphalt," Bollmann said.
As all of that work is being completed, the city will also be initiating another investigation, though this one is a little more fun than the others.
During the meeting, the committee discussed names for the new launch. Instead of deciding on a name themselves though, the group decided to leave the decision up to the public.
"Why don't we leave it up to the public and have a contest?" Belliveau asked.
The committee will outline the details of the contest in the coming weeks. More information on the contest rules and format will be released as it becomes available.
Marcus Nesemann may be reached at email@example.com.
The Northwoods River News | Walker Communications, LLC 232 S. Courtney Street, Rhinelander, WI 54501 | Office (715) 365-6397 | Fax (715) 365-6361
Corporate billing office: The Lakeland Times / Lakeland Printing Inc. | P.O. Box 790, Minocqua, WI 54548 | (715) 356-5236 | Fax (715) 358-2121 Members of the Wisconsin Newspaper Association, Wisconsin Community Papers, Rhinelander Area Chamber of Commerce, Minocqua Area Chamber of Commerce