A study of the Blue Building received final approval from the Board of Mayor and Aldermen on Tuesday night, but it did not receive unanimous support.
The measure to allow AEI Architects out of Cookeville to perform a structural integrity and hazardous materials evaluation at a cost of $9,200 passed 5-2. Voting in favor of it were Mayor Jimmy Haley and Aldermen Ben Newman, Ken Smith, Rick Barnes and Jimmy Bonner. Voting against it were Aldermen Mike Neal and Billy Wood.
Wood says city taxpayers have spoken against spending their money on the Blue Building via a referendum and a survey, both done by the city.
“I think we need to tear it down and build a police station,” said Wood. “I’m voting no because of a referendum and a survey that was sent. Enough said.”
A structural evaluation is the primary focus of the building analysis. AEI will provide a complete evaluation of the building and all additions and provide a report with explanations of all areas considered to be within the following conditions:
• No repair required, general renovations acceptable
• Incidental repair required, cosmetic corrections acceptable
• Conditional repair required, minor structural damage but repairable
• Extensive repair required, significant structural damage, costly to repair
A hazardous building material analysis will be a multi-part evaluation. First, an initial discovery and identification. Second, taking samples, laboratory testing, and a report and response of the suspect materials.
The set price of $9,200 does not include testing the engineering firm may determine needs to be done.
“Is the incidental testing price just wide open to whatever they want to charge?” asked Neal.
Additional testing, not within the set price, will not be initiated by AEI without the appropriate discussions and coordination with the city of McMinnville.
The firm will contact city administrator David Rutherford, who assured the board he will not approve any testing without first getting approval from committee.
“If I get a call that they want to do eight tests and the cost will be $2,500, I will not authorize that until the Building and Grounds Committee approves it,” Rutherford said.
The building has been vacant since 2009.