Pricetag for Quincy City Hall renovation could reach $6.8 million

City Hall roof

Director of Public Works Jeffrey Conte says seams on the roof of City Hall are popping up, and it has ridges where water collects underneath. He says water has collected between the membrane and the concrete deck below, which makes walking on the roof like walking on a sponge. | Photo courtesy of Jeffrey Conte

QUINCY — The Quincy City Council learned during its Monday night meeting the renovation of City Hall could cost as much as $6.8 million.

Director of Public Works Jeffrey Conte said during his presentation to aldermen that preliminary design work by Klingner and Associates is finished, and work on the final design and specifications is under way. Conte said he believes the project should be ready for bidding by January.

Conte broke down the renovation project into six issues, ranking them in order, and gave aldermen an estimated construction cost for each one.

Water Infiltration: Estimated cost $340,000

Conte said this has been an ongoing problem and is the top priority of the renovation work. He said windows were replaced several years ago, which took care of much of the water coming into the building, but issues with water coming through the roof, the parapet and the masonry persist. 

He said seams are popping up on the roof, and it has ridges where water collects underneath. He says water has collected between the membrane and the concrete deck below, which makes walking on the roof like walking on a sponge. Conte wants to replace the bituminous roof with a modern TPO membrane roof.

Conte said the roof drains and the roof drain piping were likely from when the building was built, and they are rusted through in several spots. He said the building has dripping water coming from the roof drains overhead in the hallway. He also wants the parapet to be removed and rebuilt.

Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning Equipment Condition: Estimated cost $1.25 million

Conte said people who are in City Hall for much of the day know the life of the HVAC system is near the end. The current HVAC system was installed around 2008 when energy efficiency improvements were done, and Conte said the life expectancy of the equipment is around 15 to 25 years. 

If we’re going to replace the roof, all the equipment needs to be taken off,” Conte explained. “The question is whether it really makes sense to take all the equipment off, replace the roof, put old equipment back on, and then in a couple of years, come back and do it over again.”

Conte also said money has been spent on repeatedly replacing the compressor, and the control system itself is obsolete. 

Exterior Repairs: Estimated cost $250,000

Conte showed aldermen a photo of one of the wooden columns on the west side of the building that showed rot. He called it “emblematic” of the other issues with the building’s exterior. He said masonry is no longer attached to this superstructure, and joints have cracked and failed and need to be replaced. Tuckpointing also is needed. Conte said these repairs could be combined with the water infiltration issue.

Renovation of Spaces for Public Business: Estimated cost $1.4 million

Conte said plans call for upgrading spaces where the public interacts with members of the City Hall staff on the first floor. He said all floor coverings, walls and ceilings would be replaced. The treasurer’s office and utility payments would be consolidated into one office. He said human resources will be moved from the area near the mayor’s office and made more accessible, along with the city clerk’s office. 

Conte said freeing up space allows for the addition of two conference rooms. The restrooms also will be modernized.

Inefficient Use of Public Space: Estimated cost $2.75 million

Additional floor space would be created by the removal of all partition walls on the second floor. The planning and development offices would move into this area. “This is where we make the big jump,” Conte said in regard to the most expensive issue.

Electrical Service/Switchgear: Estimated cost $825,000

Conte told aldermen, “This is probably way down the list for everyone,” but he said the electrical services switchgear for the building is from the early 1970s. “If the switchgear were to blow up, we could be out of power for an extended period,” Conte said.

Conte said after the city receives bids on each issue, aldermen would then prioritize which bids would be accepted based on a budget they set. He said the city has about $3.2 million set aside for the renovation project. While true costs won’t be known until bids are submitted, Conte says the city has enough to take care of the major issues — the first three.

“(The second floor) is not a public space,” Conte said. “It’s important from other perspectives, but maybe with a budget being tight, it’s something that can be delayed. We would have the design work ready and when funds came available, that work will be done at that time.”

Conte also said the parking deck needs to be addressed within a few years because of significant leakage, especially with use of salt on the deck for ice control. 

He said the existing pavement could be removed, a new membrane put in and the lot re-asphalted for an estimated $500,000. Another option would be to remove the elevated parking deck and build a new parking lot on the ground level at an estimated cost of $1.6 million.

“One other thing I want to just to clarify to the public: We’re not spending $6.8 million right now,” Jeff Bergman (R-2) said. “This is just a discussion.”

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