Town Hall project making headway

In an informal update to the Town Board and members of the public, the newly appointed clerk of the works, or on-site manager, for the Town Hall renovation reported on August 21 that demolition work was under way and the project was on schedule for completion by the end of the year.

Demolition began on August 13 and is expected to conclude around September 9, said Charles Wesley, who took over as clerk of the works (CoW) following the July 27 dismissal of the original appointee, Don Snyder. Wesley, a Port Ewen resident, is an architect, designer, and project manager who has overseen the renovation of town halls in Esopus and Shawangunk.

The first target of the demolition work is masonry — including a six-inch ceiling fashioned from vintage Rosendale concrete, noted Woodstock supervisor Jeremy Wilber — with wood to follow. Structural replacement, proceeding from the vacant second floor of the 75-year-old building to the first, will commence when the demolition is complete and the project’s architect, Robert Young, supplies guidance for that phase of the job.

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Wesley reported that he had a congenial relationship with the project’s general contractor, who has been present on the site daily since August 13. The contractor for the buildings heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning systems has also been on hand. The plumbing contractor started work on August 20, with the electrical contractor due to begin on August 22, said the CoW.

The object of the approximately $1.25 million renovation is the improvement of the ground-floor offices of the Police and Emergency Dispatch Departments and the justice court. An expanded courtroom will occupy the building’s spacious main room, which will continue to be available for use by community groups except when the court is in session. The three municipal departments relocated to temporary offices at 45 Comeau Drive at the outset of the project, when asbestos was removed from the building, and will remain at that site for the duration of the renovation.

 

Historical preservation

In response to a question from resident Joe Nicholson, Wesley assured listeners that he and the project’s contractors will strive to preserve any historically significant features of the building at 76 Tinker Street. “We have uncovered a couple of structural brick piers,” said Wesley by way of example. “At Jeremy Wilber’s instruction we will plan to leave them uncovered, for historical reasons. Anything that we find that is exposed and that we can ‘pretty up,’ we will.”

The CoW said that he would be happy to consult with the town historian on matters of preservation. Town clerk Jackie Earley noted that the Historical Society of Woodstock, whose board of trustees includes the town historian, Richard Heppner, occupied quarters on the second floor of Town Hall before moving to the refurbished Eames House at 20 Comeau Drive.

Wesley reported that his record keeping for the project includes not only daily logs on its progress, but a list of “credits and extras” — unanticipated items that will, respectively, result in savings or added costs for the town. “You don’t know what you’ll find in an old building,” he observed, adding that his current, 14-item list contains equal numbers of credits and extras. “Some of the news is good news: the town will save money,” said Wesley.

The new CoW, who is employed by the town on a part-time basis, at a rate of $50 per hour, said that he would be pleased to accept future invitations to provide updates on the project’s progress.

In other business at the meeting, the board adopted, by a vote of 4 to 1, an amended local law that will impose stiffer penalties on property owners with security systems that repeatedly generate false alarms. While the first violation of the alarm law will result in only a warning, fines, ranging from up to $75 to a maximum of $250, may be issued for subsequent violations.

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