2006-02-09 / Front Page

Cost of new town hall is not yet determined

By Sam Bari

At a special meeting last night of the Town Buildings and Facilities Committee, William Burgin, the island resident and Newport architect contracted by the town to design a new town hall, presented the close to finished plans.

Panel members reviewed the thick roll of drawings page by page. They asked questions, discussed alternative designs, and made changes. However, they did not conclude with a firm estimate for the finished product.

“A firm estimate will be made by a professional cost estimator hired by the architect after all changes are made,” Town Planner Lisa Breyer said after the meeting. “Some of the changes we are considering are intended to save dollars and could make a significant difference in the overall cost,” she added. “I think we’re about two meetings away from a firm figure.”

Burgin said that the plans were 92 to 93 percent complete. “The electrical, structural, and site plans are all finished,” he said. He also indicated that some cosmetic considerations still needed to be discussed and decided, and changes made from previous meetings had to be approved.

One of the significant changes made since the last meeting was the creation of a vault in the basement. “We now have created a vault under a vault (on the main floor), and that’s for the (Jamestown) Historical Society,” Burgin said. “It’s exactly the same size as the vault above it,” he continued. “We decided it was cheaper to do that than to build a separate vault, then build a new ceiling on top of it. The new vault will be utilizing the mechanical system for the vault above. Then we’re using FM-200 fireproofing systems for both vaults above and below,” he added.

“Obviously we haven’t come to any negotiated number with the historical society on what they might give us for the use of this vault,” Burgin noted.

Bryer said that the historical society is committed to providing climate controls for the storage of historical documents. “They are actually paying for the vault, and what they’re asking is for a 20year lease for the use of it,” she said. The expenses involved with this issue will affect the final overall cost to the town. This is just one of the reasons why a conclusive estimate is not yet possible.

Bryer reviewed the parking plan, which was a major issue for the project to be in compliance with town ordinances. She negotiated a shared parking agreement with St. Mathew’s Episcopal Church to give town hall full use of their parking lot during the week, and the church use of the town hall spaces in the evening and on weekends when it most needs the spaces. The arrangement was beneficial to all concerned.

Although the town will request a special-use permit for shared parking, they have provisions to satisfy the requirements. With 16 on-site spaces as well as the use of the church parking lot and onstreet spaces, the required 40 spaces needed for ordinance compliance are available.

Bryer noted that the objectives of the building and facilities committee at this time are to have the plans completed with its recommendations and costs for a presentation to the planning commission at its meeting on Feb. 15, and for the Planning Commission’s recommendations to be ready to present to the zoning board on Feb. 28.

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