Spencer’s Park Plaza town hall project still on track, change order coming

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 5, 2021

SPENCER — Despite some snags, Spencer’s project transforming part of Park Plaza into its new town hall is still on schedule to wrap up this fall.

While there was a delay on a shipment of steel so contractor Vertex Construction could finish work on the roof and a new fire wall, the contractor was able to work on other parts of the project in the meantime. There have since been no delays on materials.

There were electrical and framing inspections on the building this week.

Another change order on the project will be presented to the Spencer Board of Aldermen at the next meeting on Thursday during a “pre-agenda” meeting for approval at its regular meeting next week. Spencer Town Manager Peter Franzese said there were some structural deficiencies discovered after construction began and a change to the electrical delivery to the facility. He said the change will not exhaust the project’s contingency fund.

Franzese said the town will be able to narrow an opening date as the project inches closer to completion in mid-October to mid-November. Right now, the new front fascia of the building is being installed.

Franzese said the certificate of occupancy for the new facility is expected in October. After that, new furnishings can be moved in. The furniture has already been ordered.

Sherry Mason-Brown, who volunteers for a number of local projects, volunteered her design services to the town to choose furnishings and decoration for the interior.

On July 13, the board approved a change order for curb extensions and additional HVAC work costing $22,788 and leaving about $52,000 in the the contingency fund for the $2.8 million project.

Spencer Police Chief Mike James said he is looking forward to moving in the new facility. The current town hall used to be a railroad dorm.

“We’re out of space. We’ve got leaks in the ceiling,” James said, adding he appreciates the town and elected officials making the new facility possible.

The police department has had issues with evidence storage in the current facility. Specifically, the department has being subjected to smells coming from evidence lockers.

Kelly Alexander, executive director of the N.C. Transportation Museum, which is directly across the street from the project, said she’s excited for the improvements.

“It’s going to be good for our visitors to be able to see that and I think it is going to make a big difference,” Alexander said.

She said the location and the large parking area that can be used as an event hub creates more of a partnership between the town and the museum.

“That’s what we’ve always wanted,” Alexander said.

Spencer aldermen have expressed intent to turn the corner lot area into a park at some point. It was part of the original plan for the facility, but with a cost estimate of about $1 million, the town decided to push back the project.

About Carl Blankenship

Carl Blankenship has covered education for the Post since December 2019. Before coming to Salisbury he was a staff writer for The Avery Journal-Times in Newland and graduated from Appalachian State University in 2017, where he was editor of The Appalachian.

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