The Thomas County Courthouse annex — built in the 1930s and recently renovated and restored — was rather chilly when the temperature dropped below freezing two days this week.
Office temperatures were in the 50s at times.
The problem lies in the design of the heating and cooling system, said Greg Lang, of Lang Mechanical Inc., which installed the system.
The design team was responsible for determining how much heating and cooling was needed, Lang told Thomas County commissioners at a Thursday commission public properties committee meeting in the annex conference room.
The heat loss through building walls exceeds the system’s ability to put heat in, Lang explained.
Lang thinks interior heat is lost through annex masonry walls. The annex also has a number of large, single-pane windows.
The concern in this part of the country is about cooling, with heat almost an afterthought, he said.
To modify the system to correct the situation would cost about $11,300.
Commissioner Wiley Grady, public properties committee chairman, asked if the same situation might exist in the adjacent main courthouse structure, which was built in 1858.
“We’re not looking at a faulty system,” Grady said, adding that the system design is not adequate to meet the demand.
An estimate to correct the problem in both buildings will be obtained before the matter is taken before the full commission for consideration.
The cost to correct the design in systems for both buildings would be a maximum $45,000. The money is available in revenue from a Special Purpose Location Option Sales Tax that funded the courthouse project.
The system was designed for 2,500 square feet. The annex is 9,600 square feet.
The buildings were occupied in June 2013.
Commissioner Mark NeSmith said it should be determined if the board has any recourse against the design engineer.
“We put in what was recommended,” interjected commission Vice Chairman Moses Gross.
“To get to this point and not know there was a design problem is troubling,” NeSmith said.
The company that provided the design will be made aware of the problem.
Commissioners agreed warm months should be a breeze in the annex.
Senior reporter Patti Dozier can be reached at (229) 226-240, ext. 1820.