S.P. Town Hall Set to Come Down
Southern Pines' old town hall and police station on Broad Street in the downtown will be demolished next week to prepare for construction of a new municipal complex.
The new town hall and police station won't be built right away, partly because the Town Council has yet to approve an architectural exterior design. HSMM Architects of Charlotte is working on the design.
The council has reviewed at least one design but sent it back to the architects for more work. A revised plan could be submitted this week, town leaders said.
A capital reserve fund containing between $2 million and $3 million is probably not enough to pay for building the entire municipal complex, according to Town Manager Reagan Parsons.
The 1950s-era building includes a police station, Town Council meeting chambers and a magistrate's office.
The demolition could begin as early as Monday, under a contract with low-bidder Mid East Railroad Services Inc. of Carthage. The contract has a 30-day window, from Oct. 15 to Nov. 15. The company will raze the buildings, dispose of the rubble, and plant grass on the bare ground to prevent erosion until the town is ready to begin construction on the new facilities.
The proposed municipal complex will also include relocated administrative offices for the town manager and several clerks, as floor plans now show. The new, large complex will be built in the footprint of the existing building by adding a second story.
The Police Department has been temporarily moved to the former Access Printing building behind the town Public Works Department between Memorial Drive off Morganton Road and the U.S. 1 service road.
"We wanted to go ahead and remove the buildings, smooth the site and plant grass now because we wanted to prevent vandalism on the empty buildings that tends to happen after a while," said Assistant Town Manager Rick Baker.
The $40,000 contract for the demolition also includes the removal of existing shrubs and plantings around the old building, and removal of some trees near the building that would interfere with construction activity, according to Baker.
The Town Council is now holding its meetings at the Douglass Center on West Pennsylvania Avenue. The Police Department moved out in 2005. Since then, interiors have been torn out and asbestos removed through a special required process.
Tests have been performed on the ground to make sure it is firm enough to hold the weight of the new structures without sinking or settling, Baker said.
"A lot of little things have been done to prepare for the work that will be more visible next week," he said.
The contract requires Mid East to leave a small basement of about 1,500 square feet under a concrete slab after removing all the walls. The new facility will have a basement, said Baker.
After the demolition and restoration of the site is completed, construction will begin as soon as funding is arranged, the council approves the exterior architecture and design (brick is the planned building material) and the town advertises for construction bids and awards a contract.
"We'll also do grading, drainage and utility work for site preparation once we have a schedule for construction," Baker said.
The Carthage demolition company will be allowed to keep any salvageable materials, mostly steel beams encased in concrete.
The company is responsible for removing and disposing of the trash, he said.
Since August, the council and other groups normally using council chambers for meetings have had to use the Douglass Community Center at 1185 W. Pennsylvania Ave. or other town-owned meeting rooms, such as the Boyd Room in the former public library at 180 SW Broad or the Train House on the Campbell House property at 482 E. Connecticut Ave.
The new municipal complex will have a meeting room.
"We will save memorial plaques and other commemorative items from the old Police Department and relocate them in an appropriate place," Parsons said.
The administrative office is in an old house at the corner of East Pennsylvania Avenue and South East Broad Street (where the town Christmas tree is located). There is also a memorial commemorating the town's centennial.
Parsons has said the town will keep the historic building and use it for some other purpose.
The floor plans and engineering designs are done. HSMM is to handle the specs and bidding process as a whole package, not in stages and not as separate bids, according to Baker.
Construction could take about 18 months, he said.
Sara Lindau can be reached at 693-2473 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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