Despite challenges due to Hurricane Dorian, back in September 2019, Freeport Magistrate Court renovations are near completion and the architect behind it all, Max Quant, is anticipating to turn over the keys sometime this month.
Noula Investment Construction Company President, Quant, estimated the cost of the project to be close to $1.3 million.
Speaking with this daily recently (February 3) during a tour of the facility, workmen are observed working to finalize last minute details, including polishing, installing brand-new air conditions, wheelchair accessible to bathrooms, with new faucets, wooden floors, new carpeting, a renovated prison holding cell, office spaces and kitchen.
Additionally, Quant noted that Magistrate-side has an added courtroom; however, he is still awaiting government’s approval to repair the elevator.
Quant and his team began the rebuilding and renovation project of the two court houses last year, February 2019, with a scheduled September 2019 completion date. While the Supreme Courts were completed, the Magistrate Courts required more work after the passing of Hurricane Dorian.
Nonetheless, Quant was pleased to reveal, “Maybe in the middle or the end of this month (February), we should be able to turn this over back to the judiciary.
“All of the air conditions have been changed, just like next door at the Supreme Court. But we are still waiting on the government’s approval to fix the elevators. But as for the bathrooms, we have redone all of them. One of the major things we had to do was take the roof off and redo the roofing, and we had to do that after the hurricane, because the Dorian did some damage.
“Our deadline was supposed to be January 20, but we asked them for a six-weeks extension so we could catch up because of the hurricane.”
Quant continued, “We did all of the crown moldings on the walls and we repainted a whole lot of stuff. All of the courtrooms are now encrypted with interconference and all the exit lights were redone. In the inner chambers, we put down new carpeting, all of the windows and the doors were changed. We placed in brand-new basins, automatic sensor faucets, and they asked us to make high toilets that are handicap use.
“We placed in brand-new electrical LED lights. We have done all the rails and at the end of this week, we should have about six or seven ladies to clean the whole place, so we could give it back.
“Hopefully, by the end of the month, we should be able to get the final inspection from the Grand Bahama Port Authority and get an occupancy certificate and move forward.”
Reiterating that the Supreme side is completely renovated, Quant said, “We did that in record time, but this side (Magistrate Court) was a mess. It was really bad; there was a whole lot of stuff, and I like I said, the hurricane had us back a little and if you get a month delay that is like three months in construction. But, I think, we had a few good months.
“We have always recommended the government to at least put two persons with some knowledge of electrical plumbing and painting in every building that they have, but they have the Ministry of Works that is supposed to be doing all of these things. For some reason it seems to fall down on whatever recommendations any contractors make,” he maintained.
“One of the things we were sort of disappointed with was, we wanted to purchase more material locally but due to the hurricane, we were unable to do that. So, we had to spend a substantial amount of money out of the country to bring material into the country to replace those things that we would’ve purchased locally, and that was something beyond our control.
“But all-in-all, I think, we did an excellent job. We hired somewhere around 60 persons or a little bit more on this project, with all of the sub-contractors. I think Freeport benefitted from the monies that government has put in the contract for this particular project. “Having said that, we still have things that need to be done on the exterior. Hopefully, we can still give them the building, but we need to put up shutters, we also need to do some concrete work for the handicap ramp. They are minor things and hopefully, we can get them done within the next fortnight, but hopefully, we can give them back their building,” Quant said.