Civic Center façade project set for summer completion
The Civic Center façade project was initially set to be completed in February 2023, but officials have decided to stop work through the winter since that was problematic last year.
Craig Raymond, city planning director, said staff and the contractor are planning to stop work on the Civic Center from mid-January through early March, depending on the weather.
He told commissioners during their Nov. 15 work session that the contractor worked through last winter, which added costs and slowed work.
Stopping work for the winter will delay completion but the new timeline is substantial completion by July, then cleanup and going through the punch list and being done in August.
Raymond said they may shut down before the mid-January plan depending on the weather, but that he doesn’t want the project to be delayed into another winter season.
The project was funded through the Downtown Tax Increment Finance District, which was established to encourage and support public safety, blight elimination and increased code compliance in the downtown urban renewal area.
In April 2021, City Commissioners approved a $5.41 contract to Talisman Construction Services for the project and in October 2021, commissioners approved a $300,000 change order, bringing the total contract to $5.71 million.
Commissioners granted budget authority of $6 million in downtown tax increment bonds, according to staff, leaving a balance of $288,318 with the contract change.
Staff said that if future change orders were needed, they could also be funded through other sources, such as TIF, CARES Act funds and possibly some American Rescue Plan Act funds.
Staff said in October that additional issues have been found that “could not have been foreseen with the existing study as each of these conditions were concealed by the stone panels and parapet materials.”
In 2016, the city conducted an engineering study on the façade that included removing a panel and that made contractors aware of some of the underlying conditions of the building.
City officials have discussed the need to repair the Civic Center façade since at least 2011 and in June 2020, City Manager Greg Doyon restricted access to the front of the Civic Center due to public safety concerns.
A piece of the back panel became dislodged, triggering the evaluation of other areas around the Civic Center, including “substantial cracking and buckling of the front panels,” according to the city.
As a precaution, the city installed barricades to protect the public from falling debris.
The Civic Center building was built in the 1930s, under the Works Progress Administration. The Works Progress Administration was renamed in 1939 to the Work Projects Administration, according to the city’s history of the building. The program was created by Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s presidential order and funded by Congress with passage of the Emergency Relief Appropriation Act on April 8, 1935.