For visitors entering the lobby of the Eatonton Police Department, at first glance the lobby ceiling above the front door shows the signs of water damage and general wear and tear.
To the naked eye, it looks like water will come falling from the ceiling at any moment, but fortunately, that is not the case. Back in 2018, leaks developed in the parapet wall covering in the upper interior areas.
The rubber membrane covering did not extend far enough to hold the water, and that had to be bricked in to stop the seepage down the walls. Skyline Construction Services of Eatonton made the repairs at a cost of $10,240 and invoiced the City of Eatonton on Dec. 12, 2018, for the work at the police department.
The residual aftermath of the leakage left the drop ceiling missing a tile with heavy water staining above the front door inside the lobby and numerous individual spots of staining on other tiles of the lobby ceiling. Additionally, a part of one wall took on the water leak and was left with peeled paint and an unsightly lack of plaster and repainting.
The repairs to the ceiling tiles and the peeling wall have not been made since 2018, and the city offered no excuses for the work being incomplete. For now. Other work has been done at the police and fire department on West Marion Street, and the lobby is scheduled to get the work completed to improve the bad visual aspect for guests entering the building hopefully in the “next three or four weeks.”
“Currently, Historic Restoration Contractors are finishing the roof work at the Plaza Arts Center and once completed in the coming weeks [3-4 weeks], the crew will shift their attention to the police department for cosmetic and structural analysis and work,” said city manager Gary Sanders.
The city has not ignored issues at the department since 2018. On Dec. 20, 2020, Chief Kent Lawrence approved the replacement of three awnings at the front entrance of the building and received a hand written invoice for $2,200 after work was completed in November.
On June 20, Harper Custom Construction of Eatonton presented two invoices to the City; one for $15,000 to repair another part of the ceiling at the police department to reframe ceiling joists, replace rotten joists and beams throughout the parking area, install LVL beams and to disconnect the garage door before reconnecting; and 2) Harper presented an invoice for $6,300 to repair three awnings in front of the fire department.
The money for the repairs needing completion now will come from a $125,000 allotment to the police department from a building budget of $600,000 generated by SPLOST 9. This will entail cosmetic and structural work on a building that is 80 years old and showing the effects of aging, Sanders noted.
In addition to the lobby issues being resolved, the windows will be considered for replacement to stop water infiltration and old mortar in the brick walls may have to be chipped away and replaced all in an effort to eliminate recurring problems.