Construction crews building new sports fields at the back of Dunwoody’s Brook Run Park recently struck something they were not expecting to find – tons of concrete foundation left over from the main campus of Georgia Retardation Center hospital, which was demolished more than a decade ago.

Construction crews digging the underground detention pond for the new sports fields at Brook Run Park hit unexpected concrete foundation left over from the former Georgia Retardation Center hospital once located at the site. It took several days to remove the foundation, but city officials say the project remains on budget. (Dyana Bagby)

The extra work is covered by the budget and will not delay completion of the project, according to the city.

Reeves Young is the contractor the city hired last year for $7.6 million to build the fields, plus several other amenities and renovations to the park. A city spokesperson said Reeves Young was aware there may be buried materials from the old hospital, which housed patients with physical and mental disabilities for about 30 years before being closed in 1997. DeKalb County tore down the building around 2007, before Dunwoody was incorporated.

“Reeves Young knew there was a possibility they would hit the old foundations from the hospital, but there was no guarantee either way,” said city spokesperson Jennifer Boettcher. A survey was conducted, she added, but there was no way to know what was buried until excavation began.

However, two crew members hired as subcontractors by Reeves Young to build the fields said June 3 while at the site that nobody told them about the buried concrete foundation that includes footers, grade beams, slabs and pilings.

They said they started hitting slabs of concrete about 2 to 3 feet down last month. The tons of concrete are being dug up and removed by dump trucks, they said.

Boettcher said June 10 all the foundation has been removed, but how much concrete was removed is unknown.

Boettcher said the unexpected costs will be covered by an approximately $99,000 contingency fund built into the $7.6 million project budget. There is no cost overrun to the budget due to the concrete removal and the timeline to finish the fields remains on track to be finished by January, she said.

The money to remove the cement foundation is not coming from Reeves Young’s own approximately $122,000 contingency fund because its contract specifically included “unforeseen conditions and underground hidden conditions.”

The new sports fields are part of building out the city’s master plan for Brook Run Park, which includes concession stand; a band shell and amphitheater in the great lawn area; restroom facilities; more parking; and a new entrance into the park off Barclay Drive.

Dyana Bagby

Dyana Bagby is a staff writer for Reporter Newspapers and Atlanta Intown.