JASPER, Tenn. -- In changing the scope of the proposed Chattanooga State campus in Kimball, county commissioners must redo some of the project's groundwork.
At the November meeting of the Marion County Commission, board members unanimously approved a new wetlands study, a new geotechnical soils study and gave Mayor John Graham the power to sign a revised architect's contract so the bid documents for the project can be completed.
Heidi Hefferlin, president of Hefferlin + Kronenberg Architects, said the only thing that changed in the architect's contract was what was being done on the project.
"The original contract addressed the welding facility or technical building," she said. "The focus has changed to a classroom building, which is in a different location. So, my exhibits which called out legally what we were doing needed to be changed."
The wetlands study, which addresses the nearby creek and new access road, will cost $2,500, Hefferlin said.
The county also will have to pay $3,500 for geotechnical soils borings for the new location of the classroom building, she said.
Project Manager Steve Hudson said these studies are "soft costs." The budget that has been prepared will cover those costs.
"It has to be done to support permits and funding," he said.
When the county is ready to build the technical building, the studies that were completed for it still can be used, officials said.
Commissioner Ralph Pickett said his constituents want to see progress at the site.
"I'd like to know when we're going to do anything down [at the site] to show the people we're working," he said.
Hudson said getting the studies approved and completed is part of preparing the bid documents for the project.
"Everything we're talking about is a part of the process for getting those bid documents ready," he said. "We're estimating sometime in the early summer for breaking ground."
Beth Jones, executive director of the Southeast Tennessee Development District, said whenever federal money is involved, the process is going to be lengthy.
"It's slow," she said. "People's expectations have been up, but it's the reality with dealing with federal money," she said. "If you go out there and do anything without approval, you relinquish your eligibility for the money. It's never as fast as we'd like it to be."
Ryan Lewis is based in Marion County. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org