11/15/07 — Extreme makeover: City Hall edition

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Extreme makeover: City Hall edition

By Anessa Myers
Published in News on November 15, 2007 2:12 PM

An onlooker standing on Center Street can see that Goldsboro's historic City Hall looks new on the outside, but inside the changes are even more dramatic.

Outside, the large columns at the front of the building have been restored. All of the wood windows are in. The red brick on the 1950s addition on the back of the building has been painted to blend in with the rest of the building and the new City Hall.

And since last Thursday, those who pass by will have something more to look at -- a glass-enclosed bridge linking the two buildings.

Meanwhile, work on the interior of the building is coming along, too, officials said.

"It seems like the inside transformed overnight," Mayor Al King said, after walking through the building last week.

Assistant City Manager Tasha Logan agreed that "it came a long way from what it looked like before."

In four months, four city departments -- community development, community affairs, human resources and the city nurse -- and the City Council will call the century-old building home once again.

The interior doesn't give off a modern feel. In fact, it does just the opposite.

A step inside the door and any visitor will feel a sense of history and significance that exudes from the high ceilings and large door frames.

Every time she walks in, Ms. Logan feels that returning the building back to its former grandeur makes perfect sense.

It seems the building itself has been waiting for years to receive some tender loving care.

Ms. Logan believes the city has given it that. The work that is left to be done, both outside and inside, is mostly cosmetic, she said.

"At this point, it is down to hardware, fixtures, hanging doors," she said.

Among the items left to be completed are fixing the front stairs, adding clocks to the dome, adding a parking lot on the left side of the building and landscaping.

But a fountain that was planned to be placed in between the buildings may have to be put on hold.

"We really can't put a fountain in during a drought because we need to test it," Ms. Logan said.

As for the inside, it just needs a splash of color. Ms. Logan already has that picked out, too. Hanging on a bulletin board in her office are the interior design plans, complete with carpet samples, exact paint colors and even drapery swatches.

Since the new City Hall was done in blues, the historic one will be similarly decked out in greens.

Most of the interior specifications are as close to the historical palette as can be.

The grand hallway will have red oak Wainscot on a lower portion of the wall with gold wallpaper running up to the ceiling, giving the building's entrance a regal feel.

The red oak Wainscot cost $35,000 more than painted pine.

"But it needed to be in there," Ms. Logan said, because that was most likely what was in the building in its original form.

The historical City Council chambers and conference room will have embellished silver tin ceilings.

The chambers will also have new carpet and a raised platform for the council members. Wooden pews, which were part of the old chambers, will be refurbished and placed in the room instead of the chairs now used in the new City Hall.

The rest of the inside just needs some flooring, desks, chairs and filing cabinets to make it functional.

As of now, the renovations are still on schedule and on budget, Ms. Logan said.

Most of the construction of the building will be completed within a few months. The building will be inspected in December and January.

Ms. Logan expects the last inspection to be Feb. 7, but the city won't be able to move furniture in until later that month.

"We probably won't be ready to go and opened until the end of March," she added. "I hope that we can have our first April council meeting in the old chambers."