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Amherst Town Hall repairs prompt offices to move

Union Leader Correspondent

July 19. 2013 8:39PM

AMHERST — Significant structural work will soon be completed at the Amherst Town Hall, but in the meantime, town offices are temporarily relocating.

Last week, Amherst selectmen approved a $279,000 contract with Turnstone Corp. of Milford to complete repairs to the attic of the aging building.

“To ensure public safety during the repairs, the town clerk, tax collector, assessing and the community development offices are relocating to the central fire station on Amherst Street,” Town Administrator Jim O’Mara said in a news release issued Friday. “Administration and finance are relocating to the Amherst Middle School.”

As a result, the town hall at 2 Main St. will be closed Thursday and Friday so that employees can pack and move into their temporary spaces.

“The project is expected to take 60 to 90 days to complete,” according to the release. Although the town hall will be closed, the town offices will resume normal operations and regular business hours at their new locations on July 29.

Last November, 12 support beams had to be installed at the town hall after structural concerns forced a temporary shutdown. The support beams were placed on all three levels of the 1825 building until more permanent repairs could be completed.

The repair work will begin sat the end of the month.An engineer had previously noticed some shifting of the building, prompting concerns from town officials.

“There is no imminent threat of collapse of the support system to the roof,” O’Mara said explaining remedial steps to shore the structure with temporary supports and lentils were in place prior to this past winter to prevent further shifting.

Due to the scope of work that must be done to permanently fix the roof’s support beam, only one contractor submitted a proposal for the project even though five contractors attended an earlier pre-bid conference about the job, O’Mara said. Two of those contractors left the meeting early, maintaining the project was too complex, says the release.This past March, voters approved two warrant articles authorizing funding for the necessary town hall improvements. The $279,000 contract with Turnstone Corp. is $8,000 less than what voters supported, town officials said.

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