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City Hall renovations delayed
MONROE - Another delay in the renovation of Monroe City Hall has left staff scattered throughout the city until next year, after administration had announced confidence the project would be finished by mid-December.

City Administrator Phil Rath said he understands the delays have caused tension throughout the city for workers and residents alike.

"It has been frustrating for everybody, including the citizens," Rath said. "There have been some added difficulties."

City Clerk Carol Stamm, Rath and building inspections are currently working out of the westside fire station along West 17th Street. Martin Shanks, assistant administrator and director of community development, was relocated to the Behring Senior Center. Comptroller Bridget Schuchart has a makeshift office set up at the Wastewater Treatment Plant alongside Director of Public Works Al Gerber and the engineering division, while recreation department workers are running programs out of the street administration building.

The arrangement has caused problems with organization: Some filing cabinets and technology is on hand while other pieces are sitting in storage.

The changes to the building were set to be minimal - namely, to remove cracked floor tiles which would have released asbestos into the area where city staff work each day. All work was supposed to last until mid-October, but a recent problem set the schedule back to December.

Removing the stage where Monroe Common Council convenes was also finished by KPH Construction and Environmental of Milwaukee. But when it came to laying new floor tiles, materials would not stick. Now the company needs to submit a change order for a product called VersaShield, a membrane to be placed under the floor tiles to prevent them from popping back up after installation.

Rath said an order for VersaShield, which is a fiberglass reinforced palette to be cut and rolled out along the floor to suppress moisture, has not yet been submitted. He is unsure what the cost of the change order will be.

If approved by council Tuesday, the project can move forward without pause. However, Rath said, if council members do not agree to the request, the project stalls and the next steps are uncertain.

Work on the building's facade has gone smoothly by Gilbank Construction. Light poles were erected last week and the construction fence was recently removed to fully reveal the new cement and sturdy banisters set in place for safety outside of the building.

"It was supposed to be a six-week project," Rath said. "To everyone's credit, things have gone smoothly for the most part."