75-year-old city elevator up for improvements

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 1, 2009

By Mark Wineka
The elevator in the old City Hall at 132 N. Main St. has seen its share of ups and downs.
Over the past 75 years, it has repeatedly carried passengers on city business to five different floors ó a lot of heavy lifting.
Salisbury officials scheduled a major renovation and update for the 1934 elevator this year, but there’s a “down” side: The makeover would cost $135,906, according to a bid submitted by Schindler Elevator Corp., the original installers.
“That’s a lot of money for an elevator,” Councilman Bill Burgin said as Salisbury City Council discussed Tuesday whether to award a contract to Schindler for the renovation.
An architect, Burgin said an elevator in a new job would cost about $90,000.
Salisbury Purchasing Manager Dewey Peck said representatives from Schindler told him tearing out the old elevator, replacing everything and putting in a new one would cost upwards of $275,000.
Renovating the existing elevator is an expensive proposition, Peck acknowledged, but it was built well and has lasted 75 years with only one minor renovation in 1955.
Schindler is the only company able to perform the type of renovation outlined for the Schindler elevator, Peck added.
Burgin asked his council colleagues to table awarding a renovation contract to Schindler until he could do a little research.
“I may be wrong, but give me two weeks,” he said.
The other council members agreed to wait.
In another matter Tuesday involving updates to city property, council approved new roofs for the sign shop at 231 W. Franklin St., the traffic office at 303 W. Franklin St. and the Civic Center at 315 S. Martin Luther King Ave.
Some eight bids were received for the work, and Roofing Service was low bidder for the three projects at $128,800.
Peck said the city received “exceptionally good pricing” on the work, a sign that contractors are highly competitive in the current economy.
Council also awarded a four-year, $129,500 contract to Martin Starnes & Associates of Hickory to conduct city audits starting with the fiscal year ending June 30.
The price for this year’s audit will be $30,000, according to council’s action.
Council bids out the auditing contract every four years, and the Management Services Department received proposals from seven different firms.
The top three were Martin Starnes & Associates; McGladrey and Pullen, which bid $32,000 for this year’s audit and $134,000 for four years; and Cherry Bekaert and Holland, whose bids were $42,500 and $180,500, respectively.
Martin Starnes & Associates also has been the city’s auditor for the past four years.