Board signs agreement for new roof, hears other problems

Published 10:30 am Thursday, November 12, 2015

A Hattiesburg contractor has been selected to replace the roof on the Vicksburg Convention Center, and Mayor George Flaggs Jr. said the city could be looking at making more repairs to the 18-year-old convention center down the line.

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen Tuesday awarded the roofing job to E. Cornell Malone, which had the low total bid of $863,080 to fix the roof, windows on the building’s north and west sides, the skylight and awning. The bid was below the city’s $1 million budget for the project.

After awarding the contract, Flaggs told Aldermen Michael Mayfield and Willis Thompson VCC executive director Annette Kirklin reported several problems at the convention center during a state dance competition involving 1,500 people.

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“Some things came apart this weekend,” he said.

According to list Kirklin sent to Flaggs, the following problems hit the center over the weekend:

• The compressor in the convention center’s cooler went out, forcing VCC officials to rent a refrigerator truck for $400 to keep food cool during the weekend event.

Kirklin said the compressor was replaced Monday with a new one costing $7,000.

• The exhibit hall air conditioner was not working early Saturday morning, requiring officials to call a technician from Jackson to repair it.

• The escalator at the convention center broke down and had to be repaired. The escalator was repaired two years ago after water from a leaking window near it damaged the mechanism. Kirklin said the escalator has broken down several times since.

• Leaks in several places in the exhibit hall. “We had a very large leak right over the stage,” she said. “We had to relocate the stage for a program.”

• Lights in the building went out completely, caused by a leak in a conduit that allowed water to get in and caused breaker to trip.

• The back of house lights blinked off and on for an extended period of time. Kirklin said the problem involves the center’s lighting system, adding the control panel has to be replaced and has been on the center’s capital improvements list for several years. The last estimate to replace it, she said, was $32,000.

“These are necessities,” Flaggs said. “These are things we will have to fix because we are marketing the city like it has never been marketed before, and we will have to fix them as we can. This is all the result of past administrations refusing to address these problems.”

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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