City Hall update

The first phase of an estimated $1 million-plus renovation of Marietta’s 76-year-old city hall officially started on top of the building last week as workers with North Canton-based Buxton Roofing began a much-needed replacement of the facility’s roof.

Construction work to remodel the building’s interior is scheduled to follow in mid-to-late December.

“The contractor is wrapping up work on the parapet walls around the roof where we had some areas of leakage. And the roofing contractor is on site now, tearing off the existing rubberized membrane,” said Jarrod Schultheisz, project manager for the city engineering department.

He said the old black roofing material-about 20 years old-will first be replaced with roof insulation that’s tapered to allow better drainage, then a new roof membrane will be installed.

“The flat roof was not draining properly which caused rainwater to pond in some areas and leaks developed,” Schultheisz said. “The new roof membrane is made of PVC and polyethylene with a woven fabric in between that makes it a much tougher material.”

He also noted the new roofing material is white instead of black which helps with energy efficiency as it reflects more sunlight instead of absorbing it. The new roofing is also durable.

“The fire department sometimes uses the roof for training exercises, so we wanted to use extra tough material for this project,” Schultheisz said.

The city hall roof has needed replacement for some time. During storms buckets have to be placed in second-floor hallways and offices to catch rainwater leaking into the building. The police department’s second-floor detective bureau offices are especially susceptible to the leaks.

“We wanted to address the leaks in the existing flat roof membrane first, so the roofing phase was put on a fast-track to prevent further interior damage to the building,” said city engineer Joe Tucker.

The flat roof work will cost $216,000, but some additional repairs are required for the slate roof over the front section of city hall. Tucker said it could be expensive to replace the entire slate roof, adding another estimated $155,000 to the project. But it’s possible only some of that roof area will need replacement.

The current flat roof work is expected to be completed by Aug. 22.

Tucker said Pickering Associates of Marietta is doing the engineering design work for the 23,951-square-feet of renovations needed on the building’s interior.

“We’re just executing an agreement authorizing final design for the building and will have a kickoff meeting for the final design phase by the end of this month,” Tucker said. “We’re on a pretty fast track after that to get a contractor on board so work can begin inside the building by the end of this year.”

He said Pickering Associates are to prepare the final design drawings and submit them for approval by September, then will proceed with construction documents that should be ready by Nov. 15.

“We want to have the construction bids approved by Dec. 15 so that work can begin before the end of the year,” Tucker said.

One reason for the rush is that this is an election year for city council, and a new council will be seated in January 2014, and the current council cannot bind a future council, explained city law director Paul Bertram III.

“This council can’t generally pass legislation that would have to be signed by a new council,” he said. “The measure would have to be taken up again by the new council members.”

Bertram noted the current council members wanted to have contracts and other documents finalized for the city hall renovation project so that work could be underway before the new year begins.

Tucker said council elections, which occur every two years, often have to be considered in the timeline when the engineering department plans for major projects.

“We run into this every time a new council comes on board,” he said. “That’s why we have to watch the timing so closely.”

Preliminary drawings for the final design have been developed by Pickering Associates and are currently on display in the first floor hallway at city hall. The schematics are also to be placed on the city website soon.

The renovation work will include relocating police department offices currently in the basement area to the second floor of the building, although some police storage, locker room and work stations will remain in the basement. The police dispatching facilities will remain on the first floor, but renovations will be performed on those offices, too.

Schultheisz said police dispatching services may have to be temporarily moved to an alternate location at Lookout Park during the renovation.

He said Pickering Associates is working with the city to plan the renovations so that current city hall offices, including the mayor and police, can continue to operate while the work is going on.

Tucker said completion of the renovation project will allow offices currently located at 308 Putnam St. to be relocated into city hall. Those include the city auditor, treasurer, council clerk and IT department.

The city facilities maintenance crew is also located in the basement area of 308 Putnam St., and Tucker said the crew will not go to city hall but will have to be relocated elsewhere.

“The idea is to empty 308 Putnam so the city can sell that building and reduce maintenance costs,” he said.

Tucker said another driving force behind the renovation project is to address Americans with Disabilities Act accessibility concerns for city hall.

An ADA-compliant elevator and accessible bathroom facilities are incorporated into the proposed final design.