Sugar Hill discusses details of city hall plans

SUGAR HILL -- Deliberate in decisions surrounding its planned $8.5 million City Hall, the Sugar Hill City Council at its work session Tuesday discussed a final precaution in its contract with architect Precision Planning.

Precision's contract initially proposed limiting its liability resulting from design flaws to the $385,000 fee Sugar Hill is paying for design of the three-story building at the corner of West Broad Street and Temple Drive. But Sugar Hill City Attorney Lee Thompson got the Lawrenceville firm to agree to $1 million in liability, the limit of the firm's errors and omissions policy. And, if it further comforted Sugar Hill, Thompson said Precision agreed to $2 million in coverage, provided the city pay the additional $19,000 of insurance premium.

"As lawyers, we'd prefer they have no limit to their liability," Thompson said of what he called Precision's somewhat standard, 21-page American Institute of Architects contract. "Obviously, though, they'd prefer to limit their liability."

Precision is in the design and development stage of the 30,000-square-foot hall and surrounding parking deck and grounds. As is typical, the firm has presented its designs to the council along the way.

Fortunately for Sugar Hill, it's well familiar with Precision, which designed the enlargement of its existing city hall, as well as $8 million Gary Pirkle Park that opened in March. The council's concern this time, as pointed out by Councilman Marc Cohen, is that discovery of a latent design flaw could prove costly to rectify.

Mayor Gary Pirkle asked that the contract include whatever liability coverage is typical for a project of this scope, a structure that's the centerpiece of Sugar Hill's planned $14 million downtown development. He asked Thompson and City Manager Bob Hail by Monday's monthly public meeting to have further researched what liability limits are typical for such a project. With the contract scheduled for approval then, Thompson said he might inquire with Snellville, Suwanee and Duluth, cities that recently built city halls.

"None of us have built a building of this type or cost before," Pirkle said.

Separately Tuesday, the council discussed approving Monday the beer and wine licenses for the new Kroger at 6001 Ga. Highway 20 and the Walgreens at 4397 Sudderth Road.