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Yet another Moreau Town Hall construction error discovered

Moreau Town Hall

Moreau Town Hall is seen under construction on Jan. 31, 2013.

MOREAU — Years after Moreau officials thought they’d discovered the last of the many construction errors at Town Hall, yet another one has reared its head.

The fire alarm must be replaced.

“I was very unhappy to learn that when the fire alarm was installed, prior to the installation, it was already obsolete,” Supervisor Todd Kusnierz said. “You can’t get parts for it. It’s no longer serviced by the manufacturer.”

There’s also no warranty. The system is only 8 years old. The system needed to be repaired due to an electrical problem, but because there are no parts available it must be replaced.

It is the latest in a long list of problems with construction. There was no clerk of the works watching on site every day, as there normally is on multimillion-dollar projects, and the fire system in particular has been an expensive problem since the beginning.

The fire sprinklers in the attic were installed incorrectly, leading to a flood that caused more than $150,000 in damage in 2015.

The $2.6 million Town Hall was built in 2013.

After the sprinklers failed, they were taken offline for four years. The rest of the fire alarm system was left on, which led to the alarm beeping continuously to warn that the sprinklers weren’t working. There was no way to turn the beeping off without turning off the entire alarm system.

Then, in 2019, the Town Board finally hired a new contractor to rebuild the sprinklers.

The contractor for the work, Crisafulli Brothers, and the subcontractor who installed the system, Absolute Fire Protection, did not repair it. The town went to litigation and came to a settlement.

While the settlement was in negotiation, the Town Board hired an engineer to design all of the changes required to fix the system. It went out to bid and hired the only bidder, Professional Fire Protection of Johnstown, to fix the problems for $36,000.

Then the company did a full inspection of the system and discovered the fire suppression system in the basement — where records are kept — was also not working.

When the damage from the 2015 flood was repaired, the wet Sheetrock in the basement had to be replaced and then painted. Someone spray-painted over all the fire suppression sprinkler heads.

Professional Fire Protection reported that 28 sprinkler heads in the basement were nonfunctional because they had been painted.

Sprinkler heads are designed to react to heat. When the temperature rises to a certain point, the sprinkler head reacts and begins spraying water.

Painting over it insulates the sprinkler head, so it won’t react when a fire starts.

The town paid $1,500 to replace the heads.

Other problems included a small flood in 2016 caused when interior-only spigots were installed on the exterior and froze. Repairs for that flood cost $20,479.

Heating problems also persisted until 2018. The judges’ offices didn’t have heat until then, as well as numerous other areas. For four years, workers kept the court bathroom door propped open to keep the pipes from freezing because there was so little heat. An evaluation of the heating, ventilating, and air conditioning system found that out of 81 points in the building, 51 did not have the right air flow. That fix cost only $1,000, though it took four years to figure out the cause of the chilly air.

You can reach Kathleen Moore at 742-3247 or kmoore@poststar.com. Follow her on Twitter @ByKathleenMoore or at her blog on www.poststar.com.

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