2006-12-14 / News

Town hall ahead of schedule

By Dotti Farrington

Construction of the new town hall on Narragansett Avenue continues to be about two weeks ahead of schedule, Town Administrator Bruce Keiser told the Town Council Monday.

“It’s exciting watching the changes from week to week. They are easily viewed from Narragansett Avenue,” he said. “The foundation forms are in. The pour for the old town hall will be done by Friday, and the pour for the foundation for the new construction will be done next week, when the old town hall will be placed on its new foundation,” he added.

Keiser said the schedule seems to be holding because weather has been favorable, and there is a “roll up our sleeves and get the job done” attitude among the workers. “We hope the weather holds, but that is out of our hands,” he added.

The contractor and sub-contractor were able to remove the unexpected ledge at a cost of only $2,500, rather than the earlier projected $8,000, Keiser said.

The town administrator said the only problem to report is the finding that about 80 linear feet of sills in the old town hall must be replaced because of water rot and insect damage. “In a 120-year-old building, it’s expected,” Keiser noted. He said the work will be done before the structure is placed on its new foundation. He said that the contractor said the town will be billed only for labor and materials, but no overhead, because of awareness of the tight budget for the project.

The Jamestown Historical Society “sees no obstacle” to meeting the cost for the vault the town will provide for the society, which is housed across the street from the town hall site, Keiser reported. From other community sources, the Ali Dunn Foundation has committed money to provide a clock for the new complex, he said.

Town officials have also received offers of donations, including for landscaping and other aesthetic expenses not covered by the contract.

“We are getting response from the community,” according to Keiser. The contractor was the first donor, offering to provide the cupola at no cost, the town administrator said.

Time saved

The project gained the two week leeway primarily because moving the old town hall off its foundation to another part of the site took less time than expected, Keiser said last month.

The $3 million project started in early October, with demolition

of the planning and recreation offices in the ramshackle old house on West Street. The house had been converted a few decades ago for the two town offices on the lot at the rear of the 123 year old, onestory Town Hall fronting on Narragansett Avenue. The old town hall will be incorporated within the new two-story, 10,400-square foot attachment. The work is due to be completed in 10 months.


Pezzuco Construction of Cranston, operated by Richard and Ronald Pezzuco, was awarded the contract for the complex for $2,960,111. Jamestown negotiated the contract with Pezzuco as low bidder of four contractors who submitted quotes of $3.4 million to $4.3 million in June. Those bids exceeded the $3 million maximum authorized that month by voters at the annual financial town meeting. The price was brought down mainly by downsizing the heating and cooling system and getting contractor discounts.

Award-winning architect William L. Burgin of Jamestown and Newport, created the design cheered by residents, especially for retaining the historic structure within the complex.

The first Town Hall was located on the North Main Road south of North Ferry Road. The second Town Hall was built in 1883, with a small addition built later, and is being incorporated into the new, third Town Hall complex,

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