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Londonderry councilors approve spending $47,500 for new Lions Hall floor

Union Leader Correspondent

April 08. 2014 7:28PM

LONDONDERRY — The town will spend nearly $47,500 to replace the failing floor at Londonderry Lions Hall, the oldest public building in Londonderry.

During Monday night’s Town Council meeting, board members voted unanimously in favor of using money from the expendable maintenance trust fund to finance the project.

The good news, Town Manager Kevin Smith said, is that the local Lions will be able to resume its regular events later this month.

Lions Hall, located at 265 Mammoth Road, was temporarily shuttered last month when a routine inspection revealed structural weaknesses in the floor of the building’s main function hall.

“This really created a sense of urgency, because this building is used rather frequently,” Smith said this week. He noted that the Lions rent out their hall for private functions on a regular basis to bring in revenue for club activities.

Smith said it cost $2,260 for a structural engineer to perform the initial evaluation, since it was necessary to remove about two-thirds of the existing flooring in order to do so.

“We didn’t waste time in ripping out the old floor to see what the issues are,” he added. “To delay repairs would mean delaying a number of both private and public events at Lions Hall.”

It will cost $45,227 to rebuild the hall’s main floor.

Town officials noted the project entails a seven-step process where the remainder of the old flooring and framing will be torn out and a new frame and 24 pour footings installed, along with added support for existing beams.

The new floor will then be framed and sheathed before being fitted with fresh oak beams.

Rather than put the project out to bid, town officials agreed to use the same contractor that replaced the roof at the Londonderry Senior Center last year.

“We’re trying to expedite the process and historically, this person’s bids came in much lower than others we’d gotten,” Smith said.

Steve Cotton, the town’s administrative support coordinator, said some of the floor’s main support timbers can be salvaged, though the years have definitely taken a toll on the structure.

“We’ll have to go in and manually dig 24 piers, pouring concrete by hand,” Cotton said. “The actual materials are expensive, but we have to maintain the era of what was there. A laminate floor just isn’t going to work.”

Still, in an effort to cut some of the costs, town officials agreed to go with an oak floor rather than replace the original maple flooring.

“Maple is much more expensive,” Cotton noted.

Councilor Jim Butler said he was pleased with the price quoted, noting that he “expected it to cost about $20,000 more.”

“I think this seems fair,” he added.

The local Lions Hall is used for a variety of club and community activities, including American Red Cross blood drives, throughout the year.

The club was chartered in Londonderry about 40 years ago, though the hall itself is much older.

The building, which was originally built as a religious meeting house, is believed to be the town’s oldest public facility. It dates back to the late 1700s, and once stood at the corner of Pillsbury and Hardy roads. The building was moved to its current location in 1837, where it was enlarged to host various social functions. It was later used to house the Londonderry town offices in the late 1950s. The Lions Club moved to the hall in 1972.

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