Unexpected Discovery During Arena Routine Construction | News

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Unexpected Discovery During Arena Routine Construction

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- If you've been to the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena lately, you may have seen scaffolding and missing bricks around the building. 

We're learning this could be more than just a routine maintenance project.

The arena is part of the Better Jacksonville Plan.  Home to the championship winning Sharks and big name concerts like Michael Buble. 

But now, this arena the city paid $130 million taxpayer dollars to build in 2003, may be having some issues.  

"Looked to be a case where some of the brick ties and reinforcing inside the wall wasn't installed like it was supposed to be," City of Jacksonville Councilman Bill Bishop said.

We interviewed Bishop for two reasons.  One, the city has not yet granted our request for an interview we made last Thursday. Two, by trade, Bishop is an architect. 

"The extent of what's missing is really the unknown.  It could very well be an isolated case and it's not serious, or, if it's pervasive, it could be very serious, and we don't know the answer to that," Bishop said.

We also spoke with Billy Winters of Schnell Contractors out of Louisville, Kentucky.  They were the company that found the problems while doing some water-proofing repairs.  He said their project is on hold until the City of Jacksonville works out the issues with the original contractor, Turner Construction.

We reached out to Turner Construction spokesperson Chris McFadden and had many questions.  He replied via e-mail:  "Turner served as part of the Turner/Perry-McCall/Northside Partnership that delivered the arena nearly ten years ago.  We recently became aware of warranty-related issues with the arena.  We are cooperatively investigating these issues with our client and partners.  These issues will be fully addressed by the team."

Bishop said that's why at this point, it's too early to speculate what damage or danger there could be, if any. 

"If it's going where it's not supposed to go, it's entirely possible that if it gets trapped in the wrong place it could cause mold and mildew or who knows what.  That's what a lot of moisture problems in buildings come from, but again, in this particular case, until we know what the extent of the issues are, it's really hard to say," Bishop said.

Bishop said this wouldn't be the first time the arena has had some problems.  "Apparently the building has had some water issues since it was constructed."

Bishop said roofing and waterproofing are the two biggest issues with most construction projects.

Turner Construction is also working on the new courthouse downtown.  We asked if that building could have similar water issues, but Turner did not answer that question.


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