04/26/07 — Repairs at former city hall progress

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Repairs at former city hall progress

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on April 26, 2007 2:02 PM

Less than one month after Daniels and Daniels Construction Co. was awarded the project, crews have begun work on Goldsboro's original City Hall and officials said they expect the renovation and restoration work to be completed early next year.

Project architect Grimsley Hobbs said his hope is that the building will be ready for use by Feb. 10.

"We just started the construction last week, but things are moving along rapidly right now," he said.

The $4 million effort involves "tearing everything back down to the original," he added -- bringing all the historic integrity possible back to the 1902 facility.

Plaster ceilings have come down and asbestos has been removed, Hobbs added -- work that gives crews an opportunity to see historic details that might have otherwise been hidden forever.

"We didn't know in some cases what was behind these things," he said. "It's been kind of exciting to discover."

Fire damage and evidence of a lightening strike were among the damage uncovered.

"It's sort of a combination-- restoration and renovation," Hobbs said, adding the second-floor council chambers, doors, windows and the statues Liberty and Justice will be among the pieces of the building "taken back to where they were years ago."

But the effort won't be limited to discovery and restoring the building's aged features.

New electrical, plumbing and sprinkler systems will be installed, as will a new roof.

And there will be a landscaping aspect to the project, too, Hobbs said. Now that the Annex Building next door has been leveled, residents will have a plaza on all sides of the facility to enjoy.

"This sort of becomes a city hall complex with this public space all around it, with this building in as the centerpiece," Hobbs said.

A fountain will be erected in between the new and old city hall facilities and a bridge connecting the two also will be constructed as part of the effort.

Jeremiah Daniels said he is confident that his crews will continue to work efficiently to ensure the building is usable by the target completion date.

Once the roof goes on, weather will not have an impact on their ability to work.

"It's not like a project you have to dig out of the ground," Daniels said. "It's dealing with other people's work. Weather shouldn't be a factor but you just might have different things to deal with."

Once it is completed, the building will house the city's Human Resources, Community Development and Community Affairs departments, as well as the City Nurse.

City Manager Joe Huffman said he is pleased that progress is being made on the Center Street landmark.

"I'm excited to see things coming along," Huffman said. "Things are happening."

Renovation of the city hall is part of a three-phase project that included construction of the new city hall on Center Street and demolition of the city's annex building to clear room for additional parking downtown -- work that has already been completed.