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City not beaming about latest Milner Recreation Center hiccup
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This stairwell beam did not bring a smile to the faces of McMinnville officials. Its placement is too low to meet building codes.

A wrongly placed beam in the city’s $10 million Civic Center project is the latest issue presented to McMinnville officials.

The city’s Ad Hoc Committee met Tuesday and considered six change order requests, one of which pertained to a beam that does not meet a building code requirement for head height. It is two inches shorter than the 7-foot clearance requirement and will require $11,218 to correct.

“This change order is to replace an existing beam in stairway No. 5,” said city administrator Nolan Ming, who says HFR Design, the city’s architectural firm, accepted responsibility for the beam being too low. “HFR noticed the beam was a couple inches too low according to code. HFR has fully acknowledged that they missed this.”

Ming recommended the committee approve corrective measures as a construction change directive, meaning the city approves the work and its associated cost but reserves the right to negotiate that price with HFR at the end of the project.

Sain Construction project manager Mike Brewer provided specifics on how the issue will be corrected.

 “That beam runs column to column,” he said. “The second floor concrete rests on that beam. First, they’ll place a column under that beam where it can still support the concrete. Then, they’re going to take the beam out of the stairway. They’re going to redo the beam closer to the wall and higher so that we have the head height.”

Alderman Steve Harvey asked about leaving the beam, but Brewer said the city will be denied a certificate of occupancy when the building is inspected due to the beam not meeting the code requirement of 7 feet.

“Something has to be done,” said Brewer. 

The beam is located within one of two expansions designed by HFR.

“HFR designed this new wing,” said McMinnville Mayor Ben Newman. “This isn’t something in a pre-existing area. This is something they designed themselves. To have something go wrong with it is on them. If we approve this, it will be a directive and we would want them to pay for it.” 

Harvey stated, “I don’t know if they’re planning on paying for it, but we certainly expect them to.”

Ad Hoc Committee members approved the change order request as a directive and will negotiate repayment from HFR Design once the project is complete. Sain Construction requested 21 days be added to the contract for the additional work to correct the beam issue, but that request was tabled for later consideration.