Officials left waiting for city hall elevator
The status of an elevator for the new DeSoto City Hall appears to be up in the air.
City Administrator Gerald Cooper said Tuesday the renovation of the old DeSoto Middle School is nearly complete and could be finished this week.
"It's that close," he said. "They just need to install some flooring and do the cleanup. They're waiting on the delivery of some colored tile."
However, the city's move into the building might have to wait for the installation of an elevator that was supposed to be delivered last September.
"The last we heard it might be six weeks before it gets here," Cooper said.
The city council voted last summer to purchase the elevator from the low bidder, Kune Elevator, for $38,822, Cooper said. A change order has since raised the price to $40,267. The city will pay for the elevator once it is installed.
Kune Elevator kept moving the delivery date back from the original date, Cooper said. When the renovations took longer than expected, that wasn't a real problem until the company missed a December delivery date. At that time, the city demanded the company do preliminary installation work, Cooper said, and Kune Elevator did install the needed rails.
This month, Brian Hall of the CPM, project manager for the renovation, visited Kune Elevator's Kansas City, Mo.'s, office to learn the status of the elevator.
In a letter to the city, Hall wrote he waited outside the office of Kune Elevator's Steve Webber before becoming frustrated. Webber only talked with him in the parking lot as he was leaving, Hall wrote.
During that conversation, Webber informed Hall that it would be late February before the company could finish the elevator's installation.
Webber did not return phone calls from the Explorer.
At the Jan. 4 DeSoto City Council meeting, Councilman Duke Neeland said he would call Kune Elevator for answers.
Monday, Neeland said he wanted to review the city's contract with Kune Elevator before calling the company. He said he has been unable to obtain that document from city staff.
The company was the low bidder for the elevator, Neeland said, and should honor that bid or compensate if it has to go with the next highest bidder.
"This is important," Neeland said. "We need the elevator to be in compliance with ADA. We should have had it taken care of by now."
Neeland was referring to the Americans With Disabilities Act that requires civic buildings provide equal access to those with disabilities.
Cooper said the city could move into its new home and make special arrangements for those with disabilities until the elevator is installed. However, that would involve the risk of someone filing a complaint over the lack of accessibility.
"It's up to the council," the city administrator said. "So far, they (council members) have indicated they didn't want to move in until the elevator was installed.