Hall remodel cost skyrockets

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— The total cost of remodeling City Hall has shot from just less than $400,000 to almost $800,000 since final figures were released by the city's architects.

Deputy City Manager Wendy DuBord received word from the city's architects that the remodel to City Hall would cost $600,000, in addition to $188,000 in engineering fees. The city also paid between $10,000 and $12,000 in fees to architects Andrews and Anderson for planning and asbestos testing, DuBord said.

"I kind of went bananas when I saw the total price tag," she said.

DuBord said construction costs have gone up for remodels to commercial buildings.

The city has not yet requested proposals for the project and will adjust cost estimates based on bids, DuBord said.

Local builder Steve Cavanagh of TCD Inc. said remodels are difficult to price but that his company has seen the cost decrease a bit in the past year.

The remodel would include a completely new heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system and a new roof. The city had expected to be able to use parts of the old heating and cooling system but realized it would have to be totally replaced, DuBord said. The city also wants to enlarge the bathrooms and make them ADA compliant, remodel the entrances and do electrical upgrades. The City Council has not yet approved funding for the project in the 2002 budget but has voiced support for the extent of the proposed remodel.

Councilman Paul Strong said the new price tag did disturb him but that it may be a necessary expenditure for a dilapidated building where the roof leaks and the temperature controls are unreliable.

Although the city staff has been able to spread out a bit more because some employees have moved to Centennial Hall, the old building still needs a lot of work, Strong said.

"It's a lot to pay, but working conditions in the current City Hall are below standard," Strong said. "Most employers I know wouldn't want their employees to have to put trash cans on their desks every time it rains."

Strong said he thinks the city may one day need to put a second floor on City Hall to house more employees.

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