HOLLIS — The process of restoring the historic Hollis Town Hall has proven more than the town had initially bargained for, selectmen said this week.
During Monday night’s Hollis Board of Selectmen meeting, contractor Dean King of D. L. King and Associates shared the latest updates on the ongoing restoration project.
With restoration work taking place throughout the past summer, the process has already been rife with setbacks, and the project is now about $23,000 over budget, for a total of $346,000.
In September, the discovery of an 8-by-12-foot beehive inside the walls led to an unplanned $1,900 in removal costs, while work crews ran out of exterior siding in early October, delaying the process a bit longer as work crews awaited delivery of additional construction materials.
Town Administrator Troy Brown told selectmen Monday night that three more change order requests had been submitted regarding the ongoing restoration costs.
Brown said those requests included historic storm windows for the building’s second floor, interior siding along the fire escape, a handicapped ramp and foundation repairs.
According to Brown, town officials weren’t clear in their proposal on the type of storm windows needed for the antique building.
“After seeing a sample window, I realized we didn’t communicate effectively with D.L. King,” Brown said. “Obviously, we don’t want to cover the stained-glass windows on the second floor with the typical storm windows used.”
Brown said the majority of the restorations would be completed by early November, with the exception of masonry.
Selectmen agreed the masonry portion of the project, which includes chimney work, would need to be further researched and with cold weather fast approaching, the best bet right now would be to wait until spring to complete any masonry work, including work on the building’s chimney.
Initial estimates indicate the building’s masonry work could cost an additional $10,000 to $15,000, though that work has yet to be completed, nor have final costs been determined.
Town officials overwhelmingly agreed that now probably isn’t the time to begin that segment of the project and that it might be prudent to seek additional project bids at this time.
“I’m just not very comfortable pursuing those repairs at this time due to the cooler temperatures,” Brown said. “If we look into this issue further, we may also be able to get the costs to come down.”
The town has about $29,000 in Maintenance Building Repair funds that could be used to cover most of the unexpected costs, according to Assistant Town Manager Kim Dogherty.
Board members agreed that the masonry portion of the project would be put on hold until next spring, with some wondering whether those additional repairs should first go before voters.
“Quite frankly, this is outside the scope of the original work,” Vice Chairman Mark Le Doux said. “So we could end up having this appear as a warrant article (this March). Though I do support this expenditure, provided the townspeople approve it.”
Selectman Frank Cadwell said he also took issue with the $14,534 price tag of the new storm windows, which is about $3,000 higher than the price originally quoted.
“Why are we here at the final hour and getting charged extra?” Cadwell asked fellow selectmen.
Selectman Vahrig Manoukian agreed.
“All of this should have been discussed earlier,” he said, noting that he felt D.L. King should honor the original price quoted, regardless of the misunderstanding.
“I don’t like it when people come into the middle of a contract and change the cost,” Manoukian added.
The topic will be discussed further at the board’s upcoming meeting, which is on Nov. 4. The meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the community room at Hollis Town Hall.firstname.lastname@example.org