Published: 3:11 pm, Thu. Aug. 12th, 2010Updated: 9:57 am
Foundation problems force city to condemn building
By EMIL WHITIS
Daily Press Staff Writer
An office building at 611 Mahone Ave. was condemned Tuesday night during the first city council meeting in August.
The move has sent local officals scrambling to find alternate office spaces for two city departments.
“We are packing boxes as we speak,” said Artesia Police Department Chief Don Raley. “I can’t go in today and tell my (APD Training Center) staff we’re moving and come back a week later and say nevermind we’re moving back. It’s all about continuity of business.”
Raley said that when the council voted to condemn the structure, the decision to move was made. He added that the department is currently weighing its relocation options, which are limited by specific characteristics required by the two departments.
“It’s not going to be easy (to find office space that will meet our needs),” he said.
The L-shaped structure houses the Artesia Municipal Court and the Artesia Police Department Training Center. In effect, the city has enforced a building code which negatively affects itself.
Both city government appendages are slated to move into the public safety complex when it is finished sometime around March of next year.
Even if the condemnation is appealed by the owner of the structure, Frank Sturgis of Roswell, the court and the training center will leave the building. That means that when the public safety complex is complete, the training center and court will move for a second time in less than a year.
According to City Code Enforcer Cheryl Hinkle, Artesia Magistrate Court Judge Kaye Kiper originated an investigation into the structural integrity of the building in 2008 when she noticed cracks in the walls.
Vantage Engineering was contracted to inspect the building and later reported the north wall of the building had settled 1 ½ inches, causing the south wall to begin separating from the structure and the east and west portions to separate.
The settling was attributed to soil saturation and the absence of gutters to channel moisture away from the structure’s foundation.
A prognosis presented by Vantage involved the installation of a series of 16 support piers along the north side of the building to bolster the structure. […]