City sues contractors to cover nearly $2M in library repairs

Leaky windows, faulty concrete had to be repaired

By Jim Piggott - Reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The city of Jacksonville is still trying to figure out who will pay for repairs to the Main Library downtown.

The library was a state-of-the-art facility when it opened in 2005, but it wasn't long before problems popped up, including window leaks and water ruining some of the books. Some of the leaks were so bad that the cinder blocks were exposed around the windows.

The library cost $95 million to build. City officials originally said repairs to the library would cost $1.4 million. But after some preliminary work, officials found that more needed to be done, so the total increased by $125,000.

Because of the cost increase, the city delayed the work, but repair work resumed in late 2015, when the city hired another company to make repairs because the original builders refused to do so.

Since then, all the windows and faulty concrete have been repaired, and the work even held up during Hurricane Matthew without more leaks.

The repairs cost the city close to $1.8 million. The city is suing the six contracting companies that built the library to get them to pay for the repair work.

The lawsuit says the companies refused to remedy the problems and pay for the repairs, so the city was forced to hire another contractor to correct the deficient and defective work.

Both sides were trying to work out a deal Tuesday behind closed doors in a mediation process that could go for several days.

The results won't be made public until the City Council agrees on a settlement.

Lawyers from each side declined to comment on the ongoing case.

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