Comal County’s eagerly awaited openings of its new jail and Landa Building could be delayed by the COVID-19 crisis, county commissioners were told on Thursday.

The $72 million jail, $14.7 million Landa project and its $2.4 million holding facility were all set to open by late April or early May. County Engineer Tom Hornseth said he hasn’t yet received formal requests for time extensions from contractors, but said it’s a possibility.

“Neither SpawGlass or Yates/Sundt have (sent notices) although they have forwarded communications from subcontractors who have identified issues relating to COVID-19,” he said. “It wouldn’t surprise me if we did get hit by that. The good thing is that we’re nearing the end for both projects. Hopefully that will happen first.”

Hornseth said furniture deliveries to the Landa Building are about three weeks to a month behind.

“We will be readjusting our moving dates and transition times over the next few weeks as we start figuring when they will show up,” he added.

Hornseth updated both projects in a 15-minute slide show before commissioners approved a $55,206 change order requested by SpawGlass for additions to the Landa Building. He said Landa renovations are almost complete – windows and lights are installed and operating and finishing touches being applied to conference rooms, offices, stairways, foyers, lobbies and courtrooms. He said there’s work remaining outside of the building and in back, where a privacy fence is being built.

“This project is really going along well,” Hornseth said. “They are doing a quality job with good workmanship, and it’s really close to being on time and budget.”

Commissioners approved a Landa change order that addressed four construction needs, with the $55,206 in extra costs subtracted from county contingency in the project.

“The primary change was for the basement’s parking entry area,” Hornseth said. “We needed to replace the rollup gate and the control devices that make the cameras work properly. Because of the time needed to deliver the materials, the contractor requested extending the project by 14 days, which gives us a new completion date of April 17.”

Furniture, fixtures and other equipment are going into completed areas inside the jail – the public front entry, administrative offices, infirmary, kitchen and laundry. Hornseth said workers are finishing the booking area, setting up office desks and chairs and completing security workstations in offender housing areas. 

Sally port doors, for vehicles transporting inmates, are installed and operating, leading into the intake area, where installations of booking equipment and surrounding holding cells are nearly completed, he added.

Video and audio for offenders in downtown court proceedings and surveillance cameras in secure and public areas are being installed. Most remaining work will focus on inmate cells and dayrooms in the three split-level housing pods in the jail interior.

On Thursday, commissioners will consider approving a $69,106 change order for the Courthouse Annex holding facility adjacent to the third floor of the parking garage, which will house defendants transported from the county jail for daytime court proceedings. 

Also Thursday, commissioners approved:

• A surety rider and agreements associated with a one-year extension for construction of roads within Precinct 15A, Unit 2 of the Veramendi subdivision.

• Road materials through the Texas Department of Transportation’s local government assistance program.

• Treasurer’s and tax assessor-collector’s monthly reports for February 2020; two refunds of ad valorem tax overpayments totaling $37,615; property insurance renewal with the Texas Association of Counties’ Risk Management Pool.

• Extending sheriff’s office law enforcement patrols within the Comal County Water Oriented Recreation District; postponed a decision on a similar agreement with the Precinct 4 constable’s office. 

• A memorandum of understanding for annual cybersecurity training with the Caldwell, Hays and Comal Community Supervision and Corrections Department and the CSCD’s department’s financial statements for the fiscal year ending Aug. 31, 2019.

• Updates to county computer network access and password policies; a line-item budget transfer for $10,240 for upgrading county fiber internet access for employees working remotely during the virus crisis. 

For Thursday’s meeting video and agenda, visit www.co.comal.tx.us/agenda.htm.

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