Bids for Town Hall addition to be called

Friday, July 17, 2009

CHAPEL HILL - The Board of Mayor and Aldermen on Monday directed its architect to call for bids on a contract to build an addition to Town Hall.

Expansion will solve other problems in addition to a leaky roof, Town Administrator Mike Hatten said. "We have a serious bug problem and we have found frogs in Town Hall."

Architect Mike Stewart of Murfreesboro has plans for expanding Town Hall on Unionville Road to 3,200 square feet, Hatten said Tuesday.

The building on Unionville Road is "a little over 1,000 square feet," Hatten said, noting its dimensions are about 20 feet by 50 feet. The expanded Town Hall would be twice as wide and 80 feet long.

The addition would extend Town Hall 20 feet north and 30 feet west. That would require relocation of the drive-through window for residents paying city tax and utility bills.

Stewart presented his plans to the town board during its regular monthly meeting in the Police and Fire Department Building on Horton Highway in downtown Chapel Hill

"They have decided to let him bid it out and get bids back in," Hatten said.

The town administrator anticipates Stewart returning to the town board on Aug. 10 so the mayor and aldermen may review bids.

"The man said four to five weeks," Hatten replied when asked how long he thought it would take to get bids.

As for Stewart's design, Hatten said, "The plan is for more of a residential look instead of a municipal look because Chapel Hill is a residential community."

"We are hoping this project will cost around $200,000, give or take," the administrator said. "Just to replace the drive-through window is $15,000."

Stewart was accepted as the project's architect "because he would charge a flat fee instead of a percentage of the total construction costs," Hatten said.

The fee is $6,600, the administrator said.

"We're not going to raise taxes to pay for this," he said. "This would be paid out of surplus funds. There will be no loan taken out. There will be no tax increase. This is from funds accumulated over the past seven years."

Beyond stopping leaks, bugs and frogs, there are other serious issues that will be addressed by the addition.

"We are in violation of HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) laws because we don't have a place to keep files," Hatten said. "And it's not very efficient for three people and we don't have a place to file the plats," maps of subdivisions.

"We don't meet ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) regulations because we don't have a public restroom and so we don't have male and female restrooms," he said. "And we're not as secure as we should be. There are security problems here that I wouldn't want to put out in the paper.

"The building is out of date," Hatten said.

"And as a municipal building, it should lead by example. Chapel Hill wants to be a nice bedroom community and we need to build for the growth that we still believe will come."

In another development that leads to construction jobs in Chapel Hill, the town will be opening bids for the resurfacing of nearly two miles of town streets. They are for parts of Maple, Nathan and Broadview streets.

The road construction bids will be opened on July 22.