County Must Serve Disabled and Comply with Law 
By Pat Hunter

The American Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal law, which was passed in 1990 under the administration of President George Herbert Walker Bush. It's intended to ensure protection against discrimination and a citizen's right to access public services and public accommodations. This law covers citizens with disabilities who are afforded the right to safely move about in public places.

Nearly fourteen years ago, commissioners appointed the Annex Construction Committee, chaired by Doyle Arp and Howard Luttrell, former Maintenance and Purchasing Director, which was charged with making recommendations to Commission about the construction of the $1.4 Million Courthouse Annex and basement meeting room. Over the years, many people have questioned why and how Loudon County skirted  federal law requirements since the Courthouse Annex was constructed in 1995, five years after the passage of the ADA law. 

The designer of the Annex was Barge Waggoner, Sumner and Cannon and the builder was Crossly Construction. Back then, labor and building material costs were considerably less but now taxpayers face much higher costs for the elevator in order to comply with federal law.

Loudon County is now under a federal mandate to install an elevator based on a signed 2003 agreement between the County and the United States Department of Justice.

Leo Bradshaw wears many hats including that of Maintenance and Purchasing Director. He is also the ADA coordinator for Loudon County. Earlier estimates for the elevator project, which was estimated at about $75,000 but even the lowest bid is still more than double that amount.  

Elevator Bids Opened!

All five contractors attended the Nov. 13, 2007, pre-bid meeting to go over the elevator project at the Annex site.

Leo Bradshaw opened five bids on Tuesday, Nov. 27th. Architect Grant Thorpe with Cope and Associates also attended and helped with the bid tally. Mr. Thorpe was with Barge Waggoner at the time the Annex was constructed with no elevator. 

There was an objection voiced by one of the contractors to Mr. Bradshaw when Buckhead's Construction bid was opened. According to the contractor, bid information was supposed to list all subcontractors but Buckhead didn't comply. Buckhead Construction is also the same company, which was awarded the bid on the mayor's office and county building renovations.

The elevator bids were as follows:

  1. Skilled Services LLC

Base Bid - $300,430     Alternate #1 Grease Trap - $8160, Total $308,590

  1. Pioneer Construction Group

Base Bid - $259,000    Alternate #1 Grease Trap - $9850, Total $268,850

  1. David Johnson General Contractors

Base Bid - $167,500  Alternate #1 Grease Trap - $9740, Total $177,240

  1. Southern Constructors

Base Bid - $169,000    Alternate #1 Grease Trap - $6500, Total $175,500 

  1. Buckhead Construction

Base Bid - $193,500    Alternate #1 Grease Trap - $9800, Total $203,300

The bid was not awarded at this time. According to Bradshaw, he will seek commissioners input about the Alternate Bid for the 750 gallon grease trap, which is needed to operate the elevator. When asked about funding, he said that $45,000 (est.) remains in the ADA sub-fund account. This amount is far below the lowest bid so commissioners will have to approve additional funds for the elevator. There were comments made that a 10% contingency has been factored into the bids for any unexpected problems that may arise. It will take about 3-4 months to build the elevator, once the project is started.