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Troubled construction company to work on EverBank Field

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Updated: 5/06/2013 11:42 pm
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- When the Jaguars return for training camp in July, they'll be greeted by a lot that's new.

According to permits filed with the city, Turner Construction will soon perform renovations to the teams weight, rehab, and training rooms, as well as the coaches locker room.

City Council President Bill Bishop calls the company choice interesting.  Bishop, who's also an architect has worked with the company in the past.

"We did a project with them down in Miami and the group down there did a fabulous job.  I'd work with them in a minute, but around here it's a little different story."

Turner Construction built the $350 million dollar Duval County Courthouse, which was six years overdue and more than $100 million over budget when the doors attempted to open in May 2012. The city's move from the old facility was delayed because the building didn't pass inspection.  In fact, a permanent certificate of occupancy wasn't issued until week, after multiple extensions and corrections that were made by Turner in recent months.

Turner also built the $130 million Jacksonville Veteran's Memorial Arena in 2003, that just seven years later was water damaged from holes in roof and façade.

Now Turner will work on another city owned property.

" That's two big strikes on two major projects," says Bishop.  "You really want to ask yourself, are these people the ones we want to do this work?"

This time, the Jags are paying, however.  Senior Vice President Dan Edwards tells Action news the team paid Turner $3 million to upgrade the team locker room last summer.  Phase two, will also cost approximately $3 million for a new weight, rehab, training and coaches rooms.

Edwards says the team consulted with multiple companies before starting the project last year, and so far, it is happy with the work Turner has performed.

City spokesman David DeCamp says, as long as the legal permits are submitted and approved, the Jaguars lease with the city allows the team to pick whatever company it wants to use for upgrades to the part of the facility that it utilizes.

"They are responsible for any damage they do to the building but other than that it's there nickel," adds Bishop.  "It's not taxpayer money, so if the Jaguars get a lousy job that's their business to work it out."

Bishop says the city needs to overhaul its contracting procedures and project management structure before embarking on another building construction project.  He plans to push forward on those efforts this summer. He says working with Turner in the future would likely depend on the people in charge of the project.

"A company is only as good at the people that do the work.  I would think we would have some serious questions about who would do that work, and if any of the similar names come up we'd have to have another conversation."
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