01/07/08 — Site work is continuing on Union Station project

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Site work is continuing on Union Station project

By Anessa Myers
Published in News on January 7, 2008 2:11 PM

Plans for Union Station are continuing to progress.

Architect David E. Gall has spent hours walking through the building, with both his measuring tape and pencil in hand.

He has been working on the evaluation of the existing architectural, site, roof and structural conditions as well as on the drawings that illustrate those station conditions.

As of early December, those drawings were complete and were shipped to the North Carolina Department of Transportation's Rail Division for approval.

Craig Newton, senior project engineer for the division, said recently that the plans are still under review, but that he looks for them to be approved sometime in January.

"We simply need to get them formatted properly and with a cover sheet, etc.," he said.

But neither Newton nor Gall's jobs are finished there.

Gall has more drawings to do. In the meantime, Newton said the building must be tested for asbestos before the next stage in the process occurs.

"The next step in the process after we get those drawings approved would be to prepare general demolition drawings and specifications," Gall said.

That general demolition will include removing old outside buildings around the train station that will no longer be utilized.

After that, selective demolition drawings must then be made for the building itself, Gall said.

This demolition takes a little more time, too, he said, because "it means you are very selective about what is being removed and what is being left behind."

What will be left behind are historic elements to keep the building as close to its original condition as possible. The contemporary elements will be the ones removed.

Demolition should begin within a few months, Gall said, and after that, the building must be stabilized.

Both he and Newton expect the project to be well into stabilization efforts by the late summer months.

Once those efforts are complete, the main job begins -- the restoration of the old building, Gall said.

That part of the project is more than a year off, though, he added.

NCDOT's Rail Division spokeswoman Joan Bagherpour agreed.

"It's hard to say how long until we get there," she said. "You never know what's going to happen, but we are seeking additional funds for restoration. We want the reuse to be a multi-modal station."

Even once state and local officials get to that point, completion of the project is still a ways off, Gall said.

It takes a lot of "careful time" to get everything right and "make sure the construction workers fully know what needs to be protected -- all the historical fabric needs to be protected -- and what needs to be added" with as little damage to the building as possible, Gall added.

The state and city agreed on a preliminary total budget of $1 million for the initial work.

As of Dec. 11, NCDOT has spent more than $44,000 on the project for professional services, including those performed by Gall as well as Simpson Engineers & Associates of Cary, which is the lead design firm for the project.

The city of Goldsboro has agreed to pay 10 percent of all project costs, but has incurred about $800 in expenses from Waste Industries from cleaning up the station area, City Manager Joe Huffman said.

Soon, Newton said, the designers will start to define the numbers and get closer to a more exact figure on the project's cost, and, in turn, all parties will move further toward a project completion date.

"We are hoping it is under $1 million, but you never want to go into a project and underestimate the cost," Huffman said.