Sioux Falls City leaders will test new metal panels, as they try to fix a siding problem at the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center. They will test out two different techniques, and use whichever possible solution holds up better. City Attorney David Pfeifle and Public Works Director Mark Cotter unveiled two mock-up plans. These involve new metal panels, which will actually be installed on either side of the southwest entrance of the $117-million building.
Workers will begin installing them the week of September 8. It could take up to a month to finish installing the test panels. The official ribbon cutting to open the new facility is September 19, but Pfeifle said this will not affect the grand opening.
Each side of paneling, or mock-up, will connect the panels in different ways. Cotter said there will also be more fastening plate that are closer together, so the panels will have more places to attach to the building. Cotter said testing the new panels in this way will actually give them a better idea of which technique will not ripple or bulge out.
"Rarely do you have the opportunity to actually build your mock-ups on your building," Cotter said.
When asked if these mock-ups would cost the City any money, Pfeifle simply said, "No."
Three out of eight city council members were at Thursday's announcement. Council member Kermit Staggers said he still has questions that have not been answered.
Staggers: We're as eager for more information on this as the public is.
Mallory: Do you feel like they're (city leaders) being secretive at all?
Staggers: Oh, yes. Oh, yes.
Staggers said he is glad to know how these tests will work, and that the mock-ups will not cost anything to install or monitor. However, he said he still feels in the dark about the actual process to fix the problematic siding, and how much it will cost.
"From what I understand today, it seems like it's possible we might have all the sheet -- the siding coming down and put back up," Staggers said.
Cotter said it is too early to know whether that will actually happen.
Cotter: Once we find the solution and understand that, then we'll be able to look at the cost side of the equation.
Mallory: So, this could affect the budget then?
Cotter: You know, there are construction contingencies in place, and have been throughout the entire project. And so, you know, you take on risk when you build a building of this size and stature. We certainly do have those construction contingencies to address those issues, but who ultimately pays for the solution; that's not been determined.
Staggers said he wants more information about the issue.
"The main thing is we want the siding done correctly without the City being charged a penny for this. It's not our responsibility," Staggers said.
Cotter said the construction contract requires the City to allow the project team to find a solution to the siding problem. At this point, there is no pending legal action.
Cotter said it is tough to see this type of problem steal the spotlight away from the Center's grand opening in just a few weeks.
"Are we disappointed in this? Certainly. But we also know we're going to build a building that's timeless and last for many generations to come. We're going to solve this issue," Cotter said.