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Poorly laid bricks inside new Saginaw jail to be fixed

Masonry contractor, county have been working on a solution for months
Published: Aug. 6, 2020 at 6:50 PM EDT
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SAGINAW, Mich. (WJRT) - The new Saginaw County Jail has had inmates since April, and there are still a few bugs to be worked out in the taxpayer-funded $35.8 million facility.

That includes some less than stellar masonry work, but coming up with a solution to fix it has taken several months.

“Any issues that we’ve had which is common with a building this size, I mean we are working out any maintenance issues we have,” said Jail Administrator Dave Kerns.

By most accounts, the new Saginaw County Jail has opened to positive reviews, except for these walls.

“This block wasn’t laid the best. There is a lot of ridges and some of the blocks sticking out here,” says Kerns.

The poorly laid blocks are in each of the four levels of the staircase on the northern part of the building. People who toured the building before it opened to inmates questioned why the blocks looked so bad.

A year ago, Spence Brothers Construction, the manager of the project, told county officials a shortage of masons would cause a delay in getting the jail done on time.

“There was some difficulties with manpower as far as masons that could even work,” Kerns said.

The blocks were part of the discussion at Thursday’s Saginaw County Building Authority meeting. There has been talk about the county getting money back from the masonry contractor, but repair work has begun instead.

“They are kind of grinding it down, making it even and then they are going to paint it,” Kerns said.

Ben Willson of Spence Brothers has been working with the masonry contractor to come up with a solution, and he believes this will work.

“They are willing to do it. I think it’s all we can ask them to do. There will be some disruption to the jail while they are doing it,” Willson said.

“Trying to deal with masonry that is already set could be difficult but what was done upstairs looks pretty good,” Kerns said.

Boettcher Masonry was the mason contractor on the project and we couldn’t reach them for comment.

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