For those interested in what the cracks in the Yankton County jail look like, KELO-TV shot some footage of the ceiling for a report:
Here is my story on the matter taken from Tuesday’s Yankton County Commission meeting. To be clear, it is plaster material that is cracking. There are no huge structural cracks in the facility:
The Yankton County Commission had a ceiling discussion during its Tuesday meeting — but it had nothing to do with debt.
Instead, commissioners talked about how troubled they are by the cracked ceiling in the Yankton County jail, which is only three years old. The deterioration has caused some of the plaster-type material to fall on the floor.
Yankton County State’s Attorney Rob Klimisch was instructed by the commission earlier this year to correspond with Welfl Construction, the general contractor for the project, on the issue.
In an Aug. 1 letter, Kevin Bender of Welfl Construction said he has been speaking with the manufacturer of the product, as well as the subcontractor who installed it, to find a remedy.
“As of today, we would recommend installing an elastomeric paint product that would bridge these cracks,” the letter reads. “We would like to try this application on one (jail) pod over a period of two to three months to see how this product performs on the existing cracks, and if any other new cracks show up.”
The entire commission was skeptical of the solution, as it sounded to them like the same thing that was done when cracks appeared shortly after the ceiling was installed.
“We tried to put an elastic-type paint on there that was supposed to fill the cracks,” Commissioner Mark Johnson said.
He believes the material was applied too thickly, and it is too heavy for the wire mesh that helps suspend it.
“I’m really uncomfortable with this myself,” Commissioner Donna Freng said. “I don’t think it’s going to do any good. We just keep adding more. The first cracks, we sprayed some more on. The second cracks, we sprayed some more on. Now we’re going to spray some more on again?
“If this is something that Welfl Construction truly feels may work, before I agree to it, I want not only the factory representative but the installer and Kevin Bender from Welfl here,” she continued. “If they can convince me that is going to work after they see the ceiling, I’d be willing to give it a try. But they haven’t even looked at it, and there are chunks falling down on the tables. It’s crazy.”
Klimisch offered to arrange a meeting between the four parties inside the jail to discuss the issue.
“I think it’s going to have to be torn down and done differently,” Commission Chairman Bruce Jensen said. “If I could go back and do it over again, that’s what I would have done to begin with. But you try to work with them.
“If it doesn’t work … then it’s going to come down,” he added. “If we have to do it (by legal means), we will because that’s a big cost. In good faith, we thought it was going to work. They told us it was going to work.”