County to Review S2 Jobs

Administrator Seeks Drawings, Answers

WINNSBORO – In the wake of the Jan. 12 collapse of a 50-foot section of retaining wall around the recently completed football field at Drawdy Park, County Council voted unanimously Monday night to hire a construction manager to inspect other building projects completed for the County by S2 Engineering and Consulting. The vote came after Milton Pope, interim County Administrator, informed Council that his staff was in the process of retaining a structural engineering firm to inspect any repairs to the wall.

Pope also told Council that his office had sent a “legal document” to S2 “requesting various pieces of information and documentation.” After the meeting, Pope clarified that he had sent a certified letter to S2 requesting any additional drawings, soil analysis and “any other documentation that they have.” Pope said that he was also looking for an explanation from S2 for why the section of wall collapsed.

Last week, The Voice viewed drawings the County has on file for the retaining wall. Those drawings, produced for S2 by Sherman Sumter, are dated Jan. 3, 2014 – months after the wall had been completed. The drawings are not to scale and include little detailed information. Sources with the County told The Voice that the drawings were not plans, but were “as built” drawings and were protocol for changes that occur during a construction project.

Sources also told The Voice that no building permit was applied for or issued for the wall prior to the wall’s construction. Monday night, Pope confirmed that fact, adding that it might have been included in S2’s scope of work.

“Was that the best way to handle it?” Pope asked rhetorically. “I guess the jury’s still out on that.”

Pope acknowledged that “deficiencies” existed in the process surrounding the construction of the retaining wall and said that his staff was working to ensure similar failures do not arise in the future.

“Clearly, in looking back over the situation, we could have and should have had some additional controls in place to prevent some of the things that occurred with the park,” he said. “What our staff is doing now is to manage the point of where we’re at right now as effective as we can to make sure the County is protected as much as possible and to seek an appropriate remedy to the situation that we have.”

Pope reminded Council that the County does have a warranty on the work, but said that the County needed to “make sure that is vetted properly, that we have the proper information regarding the cause of the failure and we agree to those things as well as to what the remedy for the fix will be.”

Councilman David Brown (District 7), who placed the motion to hire a construction manager on the floor, said state law extends how long a contractor is responsible for work.

“I know with Drawdy Park we’ve got a year warranty,” Brown said, “but I think it goes further than that.”