Council to vote on City Hall renovation

Published 12:13 pm Friday, September 9, 2011

The Bainbridge City Council will soon take a final vote on whether to move forward with a proposed major renovation of City Hall.

A committee charged with narrowing down 12 contractors’ proposals down to a finalist has recommended that the City Council choose a bid from Childers Construction of Tallahassee, Fla., to be the construction manager on the project.

Architectural firm Clemons, Rutherford and Associates of Tallahassee estimated the total cost of the renovation to be about $3.8 million. In the past, some council members have expressed concern about the project’s cost; however, it would be paid for with receipts from the one-cent Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) and not out of the city’s general fund.

On Tuesday, the council unanimously approved paying Childers up to $10,000 for pre-construction costs associated with tabulating a final project cost and preparing the bid specifications that sub-contractors would bid on. If the council approves Childers’ construction management proposal at its Sept. 20 meeting, Childers would work with PDC Construction of Bainbridge to oversee the project to completion.

The architectural plans call for the two buildings that house City Hall offices presently — the original white marble building at the corner of Broad and Broughton streets, and the brown building which houses the Main Street offices —to combine with the vacant Kwilecki building, which is in poor condition.

Primary concerns driving city officials’ interest in renovating City Hall include safety for employees and visitors, health hazards and the declining structural stability of all three buildings — particularly the Kwilecki building.

Childers and PDC Construction both have experience with major renovations of historic buildings in Decatur County, including the County Courthouse and the Firehouse Center and Gallery.

If the council approves the renovation project, every effort would be made to utilize local contractors, suppliers and labor, according to City Manager Chris Hobby.

Council accepts riverwalk grant

In other business, the council unanimously agreed to accept the terms of a $100,000 grant from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. The grant will be used toward the cost of creating a proposed riverwalk between Cheney Griffin Park and the existing nature trails in the Earle May Boat Basin. The riverwalk project is currently undergoing a permitting process with state and federal agencies, including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, according to Deputy City Manager Dustin Dowdy.