14 months and $6.2 million later, State House security complex s - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

14 months and $6.2 million later, State House security complex still incomplete

Just outside the State House complex in Columbia, this security checkpoint remains unfinished and unmanned. Just outside the State House complex in Columbia, this security checkpoint remains unfinished and unmanned.

Every day, dozens of cars pass through the security arms and unmanned guard shack into the heart of the of South Carolina's government. Some are lawmakers, some are state employees, and some are who knows.

"The arm is up, so vehicles like the one that's passing now has easy access," said state Rep. Jerry Govan. "Don't know who they are."

Govan is one of the lawmakers who told the state's Budget and Control Board to finish this project. That was 14 months and $6.2 million ago.

"The physical structures are in place in terms of the barriers, the arms, and the other measures that were put in, but they don't seem to be working or operating as they should," said Govan.

Govan says he expected to see the project completed by now.

"At this point, we thought we'd see more than what we're seeing now," said Govan.

"It's embarrassing to hear they-- that they -- what they did cost $6 million and it hasn't worked since day one," said state Sen. Harvey Peeler.

Peeler chairs the committee that 14 months ago ordered the Budget and Control Board to finish the project. When did he expect to see that system up and running?

"Well, sooner rather than later; sooner than now," said Peeler. 

We requested an interview with Budget and Control Board Director Marcia Adams. Instead, the agency provided its spokesperson, Lindsey Kremlick, to explain.

Kremlick blamed a change in leadership with the board as for why the project remains incomplete.

However, the same director, Marcia Clark, has been in place for two years. Last year, Kremlick told WIS they'd have the project up and running after our reports aired. The agency admits they still don't have a timeline for when the $6 million project will be up and running.

"We want to put it back in place," Kremlick said. "We definitely want to do that. We want to protect everybody that comes in and uses the capitol complex."

Those promises aren't making some Budget and Control Board employees comfortable.

"That's a waste of Goddang money," said one unnamed Board employee, who drove up to the security complex during our shoot. "Waste of money."

That same employee also told us the word inside the agency is there's still concerns over whether the system will even work.

"The deal was, they was still scared of the metal arms were going to come down improperly and bend up somebody's car," said the employee.

Meanwhile, Govan and Peeler say the time for action on this project is now.

"The question is have we gotten what we paid for," said Govan.

"It's time to do something. It's past time to do something," said Peeler. "We spent the money, we spent the time. It's time for them to operate."

So, what's in the way of finishing this? The Budget and Control Board says they're still trying to figure out who'll man the guard shacks, who'll monitor security cameras, and who'll verify credentials. After all this time, the agency still can't tell us when they'll finish with the project and whether it'll cost you any more money.

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