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County opens path to negotiate heating, cooling lawsuit out of court Tell North Platte what you think
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Joe Hewgley

The Lincoln County commissioners authorized Joe Hewgley to negotiate with the company that installed the key component of the courthouse heating and cooling system.

County officials say the system has never worked correctly since it was overhauled in 2014-15. The problem apparently originates in the groundwater well system.

The county filed a lawsuit in early January, claiming that the contractor, Nebcon Inc. of Omaha, breached the contract.

Nebcon was fully paid for the job, according to court documents, but the county wants an adjustment. Nebcon has not yet responded to the claim.

In March 2014, a drilling rig bore a 300-foot deep well down through the lawn on the north side of the courthouse -- the start of the new geo-thermal heating and air conditioning system for the building.

If the system works right, underground water, heated thermally to 50-plus degrees, provides a base temperature for the heating and cooling.

However, the former maintenance director at the courthouse has said the temperature of the intake water gets too cold in winter, and in summer the intake water is too warm, indicating that draw and return water is mixing somewhere inside the well, which should not happen.

The Bulletin published more details about the trouble in its Jan. 18 print edition.

Hewgley is the veteran on the board, having served for more than 30 years. Also, he typically oversees operations in the courthouse building.

The designation of Hewgley as negotiator gives the county more flexibility in resolving the dispute, Deputy County Attorney Joe Wright said, but declined to say more.

In designating Hewgley, the board stipulated that it will approve any agreement that he negotiates.

“We have ultimate confidence in you, but we will have to approve it,” Chairman Bill Henry told Hewgley.

Also, the county previously hired a construction attorney, Craig C. Dirrim of the Woods & Aitken law firm of Lincoln, to represent Lincoln County in the lawsuit.

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The North Platte Bulletin - Published 4/3/2017
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