09/18/07 — Renovations to historic City Hall still on schedule, officials say

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Renovations to historic City Hall still on schedule, officials say

By Anessa Myers
Published in News on September 18, 2007 2:07 PM

Nearly five months away from estimated completion, the $4 million renovation of Goldsboro's historic City Hall has come a long way toward restoring the building to its original shape.

But workers still have a ways to go.

City officials say they want the 105-year-old structure to stand strong for another century.

Already, it is showing signs of its former glory.

"I think the building stands out more now," Assistant City Manager Tasha Logan said. "Most of the chipped paint is gone. Layers and layers of paint where some of the detail had been painted over -- you can now see the intricate details.

"It looks much more vibrant. It still has a dominant presence. Even though it is much smaller than the new addition, it is the prominent building in the complex."

And the presence and prominence will increase with the renovations which are "still on schedule and still on budget," Ms. Logan said at the last city council meeting.

Stripping the building and tearing down walls started last summer. And after winning the bid, Daniels and Daniels Construction Co. began work April 1. Mayor Al King said he has watched workers steadily transforming the building.

"They are workers. They have really been working hard," King said.

To date, Daniels and Daniels has finished the cupola roofing and coating, metal-stud framing, metal-door setting, 90 percent of the site utilities and 95 percent of the rough plumbing and electrical wiring. The new roof, plumbing and electrical wiring and steel bridge framing system are among the items that should be completed by the end of September.

"They have been wonderful to work with," Ms. Logan said. "They have been well-kept. They seem to be moving to keep the project on schedule and have worked with us to make sure the building we are currently in has remained clean and accessible."

Ms. Logan said the two big items that the construction company has completed have to do with labor-intensive work.

"The masonry work they have done is very hard labor," she said. "Cleaning the brick, touchpointing the brick and putting the coating on it to enhance the color -- it's a lot of hard work."

She added that window installation was also a hard task.

"The wood windows are very heavy," she said. "It took four guys to get one window in. But we wanted to make sure we had those wood windows in there to keep with the historic preservation."

Local lawyer and historian Charles Gaylor agreed that the wood windows will look much better than the previous ones.

In the 1960s, he said, the city modernized the building by lowering ceilings, changing some of the room dimensions and putting in windows.

The main problem with that modernization, Gaylor said, was that the new windows did not match the rest of the building at all.

"All of what was done was pretty inappropriate," he said. "It wasn't good for history. It wasn't good for the building."

Most of what is left to do now are smaller items, Ms. Logan said.

"I think a lot of it is down to details," she said. "One part is to make sure that we have all the technology that we need in the building -- making sure that the building is wired for not only what we need now but also what we will need in the future. The other part is looking at the finishes, paint, carpets -- those sort of things.

"I'm really going into detail to bring the building back to grandeur. It can have an almost regal appeal to it."

Other areas of the building will simply be improved upon.

The statues of Liberty and Justice are among them.

They were taken to be cleaned and should return to watch over downtown by November -- hopefully before the Thanksgiving holiday, Ms. Logan said.

City officials foresee the building to be ready a few months later, on Feb. 8.

"As long as we keep moving like we are, we will be on schedule," Ms. Logan said. "Most of the things that could have slowed us down came early in the project."

Once all the renovations are completed, community development, community affairs, human resources and the city nurse will move in. Council chambers will also make the move to the new second floor where future council meetings will be held.