by Jonathan Weaver
Bids to repair a handicapped-accessible elevator that has been out-of-service since around Election Night were opened this week.
County Controller Myra Miller opened two bids Thursday – a total bid of nearly $49,200 from Otis Elevators (which has six offices in Pennsylvania, including in Pittsburgh (Robinson Township), and a total bid of $51,500 from Eastern Elevator Service and Sales, based in Windber (Somerset County).
County Public Works Director Roy Carney said problems making the elevator inoperable began in mid-November.
“There’s a major problem with the elevator – there’s a hole going in the shaft that’s going into the ground, making hydraulic fluid spill,” Carney said.
Carney explained the hydraulic fluid helps the elevator ascend or descend three floors, but without it, the elevator seemingly-bounces. Upon further inspection, a small hole was found in the piston.
The replacement would have to be built specially for the courthouse and installed in pieces using a crane.
After hearing the two bids, Carney asked County Commissioners Pat Fabian, Jason Renshaw and George Skamai to table the final decision for review and tabulation. Commissioners accepted the request.
“Even though it will slow the process down, I still want to review the documents, make sure everything is in order,” Carney said.
Fabian said the two bids are less money than he anticipated based on previous discussion.
The county currently has been contracted with Otis Elevators for decades, but it does not include repair.
Upon acceptance of a bid, the contractor has 90 days to repair the piston.
Another elevator in the courthouse is operable.
Those with a handicap disability trying to reach courtrooms or offices – such as for District Attorney Scott Andreassi or Chief Probation Officer Regina Himes – are asked to inquire with Sheriff Bill Rupert or the sheriff deputy upon passage through the front entrance.
County commissioners had also hoped to discuss bidders for an x-ray scanner and walkthrough metal detector, but no bids have yet to be received.