Fulton County fixing elevators, leaky atrium, after years of problems

4:45 p.m Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018 Local
Trash cans, rain barrels and absorbent pads are placed in the lobby of the Fulton County Government Center to catch the rain from a leaky roof Wednesday. ARIELLE KASS/AKASS@AJC.COM

On rainy days, like Wednesday, trash cans and rain barrels are dragged to strategic locations in the lobby of the Fulton County Government Center.

Industrial fans are positioned around the area, caution signs are carefully placed and whole areas of the floor are covered with bright yellow absorbent pads — or diapers, as they’re called within the county.

The glass atrium in the government building has leaked for years, rendering the lobby floor slippery and making the entry to the county’s offices look, well, bad.

Plans are finally in place, though, to stop the leaky atrium roof. The county will spend $2.4 million to fix the rubber expansion joints that are causing the leaks, as well as to seal glass, fix drains and gutters and make other improvements to keep the water from coming in.

Along with $7.6 million that will go toward the modernization of 27 elevators across 10 county buildings, including the courthouse, the county is spending about $10 million to fix what Ellis Kirby, director of real estate and asset management for Fulton, called cornerstone projects.

“When I first started, it was an image thing for me,” said Kirby, who has been with the county for two years. “Are we taking care of our buildings properly? It’s a first impression.”

In the government center, improvements to the atrium roof will make it more useful — and safer — as a gathering place. Kirby said he wants to revitalize the lobby, which sometimes hosts weddings and other events. It will be closed for events beginning March 19. Construction is expected to begin in April and will last through the end of the year.

Without the work, the building will continue to deteriorate, said Bill Mason, program manager for the Fulton County Urban Redevelopment Agency.

“This is our one chance to get it right,” Kirby said.

Some elevators, at the government center, have already been replaced but many others badly need repair, Kirby said. There are occasional entrapments, and the elevators are more than 20 years old, and are no longer safe and reliable.

The elevators to be replaced are at the Roswell Neighborhood Senior Center, College Park Regional Health Center and North and South Service Centers, in addition to the government center and courthouse.

Additionally, the county has been landscaping, fixing parking lots and making other small fixes to improve the look of its buildings.

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