‘No Action’ not an option for Sands-Dorsey

By Chelle Delaney: Quay County Sun

A report from a construction engineer indicates that the century-old Sands-Dorsey building is “a very real safety hazard in its current condition.”

However, the report recommends that “the main facade and structural perimeter walls be stabilized and preserved.”

Sections of the report, prepared by Sonya Cooper, a construction engineer and head of the Engineering Technology & Surveying Department of New Mexico State University, were read Thursday at the City Commission meeting by City Manager John Sutherland.
Sutherland also said the building’s owner, Bob Hengstenberg, had been cited by the city’s code enforcement officer.

Sutherland said that Hengstenberg had 10 days to start working on the building and had to complete the work with 90 days, according to the letter from the city.

The Federal Revival Style building burned in a June 8 fire that “without immediate attention, this impressive edifice faces imminent collapse over time,” said Cooper’s report.

Cooper’s report, which included contributions from Jean Fulton of the Cornerstones Community Partnerships, was funded by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

The report outlines a series of 12 steps that can be taken to stabilize and make the building safe. One of the first steps recommended is to cover all the windows with plywood and those on the ground floor affected by the fire appear to have been covered.

“The Sands-Dorsey is historically significant, and is one of Tucumcari’s architectural gems,” the report states. “The stabilization and preservation of the exterior walls including the front facade are the recommended courses of action. If, however, a lack of community resolve and/or a scarcity of resources undermines or prevents an emergency stabilization and eventual preservation effort, the building must be condemned and razed by qualified professionals. A feasibility study conducted by a qualified historic architect and structural engineer could compare … costs associated with each alternative. Regardless, a course of ‘No Action’ is not an option.”

In the other business before the commission:
• A 5:15 p.m. Tuesday work session was scheduled to discuss: a proposal to transfer property, near the new landfill on Highway 54, for a planned feedlot; the pros and cons of annexation of property where the new landfill is currently under construction; and a limit on certain expenditures. The work session will be at City Hall in the commissioner’s chambers.

• Charlie Sandoval, head of the city’s water department, discussed water pressure problems regarding RAD, the Rural Area Development water users coop, that serves rural residents east of Tucumcari.
“We still don’t have any answers,” Sandoval said. “No one deserves that.”
However, Sandoval said the pressure issues do not appear on this the city’s side of the water delivery.
Sandoval also said that his department and the city would continue to assist RAD in whatever way they could to solve the problem.