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Study recommends $65 million in building upgrades, repairs

Brock A. Stein | 9/6/2017, 4:10 p.m.
A recent study recommends that Joliet invest about $65 million in its facilities around the city. CDM Smith, a Chicago-based ...
Three Joliet city lawyer positions are being eliminated in a cost-saving measure that's part of the proposed 2016 budget.

A recent study recommends that Joliet invest about $65 million in its facilities around the city.

CDM Smith, a Chicago-based consulting firm, unveiled the findings of its study this week, which looked at 66 city-owned buildings at 55 different sites. Facilities ranged from police and fire departments to water and sewer, train stations as well as the city-owned ballpark said director of administrative services for Joliet Ken Mihelich.

The study also evaluated the state of non-city owned facilities like the libraries and Rialto Square Theater he said.

Mihelich said that the study would give the city a better idea of how to plan for repairs, updates and in some cases replacements for buildings some of which are 100 years old.

Evaluations looked at building conditions, their critical use by the city, and how they are used with a goal of creating plans for critical upgrades or replacements on a 1-year time frame as well as 5-year, 10-year and 20-year plans.

Critical fixes would be those that involve Americans with Disabilities Act updates or those that pose life safety concerns.

The report breaks down planning by low, medium and high-priority according to the critical nature of a building’s service to the city. Fire stations, water and sewer functions, for example, would take higher priority over structures like libraries said Benjamin Harber of CDM Smith.

The inventory found 5 buildings to be in excellent condition, 16 in good shape, 20 in fair, and 12 in poor to critical condition.

The study recommends about $65 million in repairs, upgrades and replacements in the coming years with $31 million needed for replacement of poor condition buildings including fire stations #4 and #7, a public utilities administration building, fleet maintenance buildings #1 and #2 and a roadways maintenance facility.

In addition, the study finds a need for another $34 million in building maintenance on some critical buildings and recommends that the city divest itself of the gymnasium at the JCA building and the Stonich building, which it finds will save about $7 million.

Moving forward, the study also recommends a yearly investment of $4-$6 million for annual repairs and updates to its facilities.

Joliet Mayor Bob O’Dekirk said that the study would help the city develop a budget for maintaining the city owned properties.

“We have to take ownership of these buildings,” he said, “We need to develop a plan.”