PDT Staff Writer
The Portsmouth City Building Committee may be looking at assembling a “good, better, best” scenario in making recommendations to Portsmouth City Council for a future city building.
“It would just be coming up with three proposals that have a tiering effect,” committee member Sean Boldman said. “So your ‘good’ proposal would be the least expensive, most non-idealistic proposal. So it would be redoing the windows in the current city building; redoing the HVAC system, installation; not actually touching the structural of the building, not removing the walls which are plaster, surely, and brick walls that would cost a fortune to take out.”
Boldman said the proposals in the past had called for completely gutting the structure and redoing the entire building.
“You also may be able to redo some of the structures of the building,” Boldman said. “The court rooms also need to be as big as they currently are, and private office spaces — this, that and the other. So that would be kind of the ‘good’ concept.”
He said there would be the option to add on to the current city building if desired in the future.
“Your ‘better’ option would maybe be to do a bigger gut of the city building; to do a little bit more maintenance; adding on a little bit with the concept of being able to add on later on,” Boldman said. “It would be more of the middle-of-the-road price. You would spend a little bit more money on the 22,000 square feet (current city building size) we already have, and maybe add on 10,000 square feet or so, which would keep the cost a little bit less.”
Boldman said the “best” option is either completely redoing the city building and adding on enough square footage to satisfy everybody, or building a new facility at another location, knocking down the current facility, which he said would cost, “an extraordinary amount of money.”
Second Ward Councilman Rich Saddler was retained as chairman of the committee in a vote by members, which included Sharon Benter, Dr. Kenneth Carlson and Boldman.
Saddler handed out two proposals he had already made for scrutiny by the other members. One calls for constructing a new city building on existing city-owned property and only if any of the existing property is able to accommodate a building and parking space of the desired size and in accordance with city and state building codes. This option would not exceed 53,000 square feet in design. Employee and public parking would be in addition to the square footage of the building design.
Another proposal would be to rehabilitate and add on to the existing city building and create employee and public parking space to the east of the City Building. Again, the option would not exceed 53,000 square feet in design and the Master Plan from Alexander-Seckel Architects submitted to the city in October 1984 would be used as a template for the renovation/addition. The report submitted would be updated to include any construction price increases to today’s standards.
Carlson said he thinks the city needs to be in one building, and Boldman said he doesn’t think the city should limit sale of properties to beginning at the appraised value, “because, whether it sells for a dollar or $100,000, it’s going to generate taxes. Obviously, I would like to sell it for as much as we can to offset the cost of building.”
The committee decided to continue to work toward coming up with several proposals, and hopefully have Council narrow it to two to be placed on the ballot. The committee determined Wednesday night, they would probably not get those proposals ready by the November general election, and would probably not have them ready until next year’s primary election.
It was also revealed at the meeting that an estimate for remodeling the Marting’s building for use as city offices was more than $11 million.
“That was something that was submitted to Councilman (Kevin) Johnson from David Stone (Tanner Stone Holsinger Dongess and Company Architects) providing a breakdown for the Marting’s building,” Saddler said. “When this nonprofit thing was happening a month or so ago, I think that this was just follow-up information that Kevin requested. But this is basically the cost of it. This is the total cost of renovating 54,000 square feet of the Marting’s building, which would basically equate to $11,364,000.”
Saddler said that figure included site development of $250,000. Building renovation of that square footage, 54,000, was $9,450,000, or $175 a square foot. Total construction cost is $9.7 million. Engineering cost would be basically seven percent of the construction cost, which would be $679,000. And miscellaneous costs of fees, testing, reproduction, drawings, were estimated at $15,000, and a 10 percent contingency of $970,000.
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 232, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.