The Grantville City Council has approved the hiring of contractors to proceed with projects with three city-owned historic buildings.
At its regular council meeting Monday night, Lord Aeck Sargent, a full-service architectural and design firm, was approved to restore the freight depot and the Sara O'Kelley Municipal Auditorium. Preservation South LLC has been hired to complete the interior design work at the downtown passenger depot. The firm also completed the exterior work on the depot earlier this year.
City Manager Al Grieshaber said the city is applying for a Fox Theatre Institute planning grant to complete the auditorium work. Mayor Doug Jewell said he felt the council was “putting the cart before the horse,” by approving the firm to do the work although the city has not been awarded the grant.
Grieshaber said an architectural firm must be named to do the work before the grant application can be submitted. The firm was recommended by the Fox Theatre Institute.
Councilwoman Ruby Hines – who participated via telephone – was the only councilmember to cast a vote opposing the approval of the of firm to work on both buildings.
“Mr. Mayor and all, I just don’t have peace about that right now,” Hines said. “As much as they do need to be renovated, I can’t vote in favor of it because I don’t have peace about it, if that makes sense.”
Grieshaber said the grant is primarily for the auditorium and coupling the two projects together will allow the firm to look at both projects at one time, which may save the city money in the long run.
Kyle Campbell with Preservation South LLC presented a proposal to the council outlining what the firm would do for the interior of the the passenger depot. The other two firms that submitted bids – K.A. Oldham Design Inc and Place Maker Design – were invited, but did not attend the meeting to make a presentation.
Campbell said the firm plans to keep the authenticity of the passenger depot and traced historic data regarding the building’s structure back to 1921. Campbell said the restoration of the depot could bring more tourism to Grantville.
Campbell said his firm would rewire the 1500-square foot building, install a new HVAC unit, add appropriate interior and exterior lighting, ceiling fans and a unisex restroom.
Although a HVAC unit was installed approximately a year ago, Campbell said a replacement unit was needed because the ceiling of the building has been raised by four feet.
He also recommended plumbing work and a security system.
Campbell’s firm submitted bid totals $15,000. Councilman Alan Wacaser wanted to know how much more money would be needed and what the firm would do for $15,000.
“We will plan and oversee the work and bid it out to subcontractors,” Campbell said.
Campbell said his firm was on site for the exterior work of the project three days per week for nearly four months and the interior work could cost about $60,000 or more. He said there were still some outstanding bids out for subcontractors, so the numbers were not final.
Grieshaber said Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax funds for recreation and culture would be used, but funds from historic preservation is also an option.
Councilman Willie Kee was the only councilmember to cast a vote opposing the approval of the Preservation South LLC to work on the passenger depot.