AMHERST – The new home of Amherst’s town offices will be completed on time and on budget, says its CAO.
Speaking after a special council meeting on Wednesday, Greg Herrett said renovations to the Dominion Public Building on Victoria Street are proceeding as planned and he expects council to hold its September meeting in the building.
“Our goal is still certainly to have the regular council meeting here in September,” Herrett said after doing a walk-through of the building at the conclusion of the council session. “We’re progressing through the renovations mostly on plan. There are a few hiccups as there are with any renovation project, but we have been able to work through them.”
The town has budgeted $750,000 for the project and Herrett said the final tally will be very close to that number.
“In any project like this when you’re working with an old building there’s always issues that come up and changes that have to be made. We don’t think we’re going to be over or under the budget by any large amount,” Herrett said.
Renovations to the second floor of the former post office began before the Tantramar Theatre vacated the building at the end of May. Work on the ground floor – that will include the lobby area and council chamber as well as the mayor’s office – began soon after the theatre left.
Herrett said the town is leaving much of the lobby area as it is with just a few alterations.
“We are maintaining a large part of the character of the building including the existing wood finish. The lobby will look the same, with the exception of the flooring,” Herrett said. “We’re not doing a lot of ripping and tearing with this project, we’re building on what’s already there. The building will essentially look the same as it did three or four months ago. We are adding a state of the art council chamber, a meeting place for public and council meetings.”
Herrett said the town is also using the talents of its unionized staff, who are completing most of the renovations.
Ben Pitman, the town’s director of Operational Services, said most of the walls have been framed up and the electrical, data and voice wiring is being installed. Gyprock work will be completed in a couple of weeks and he expects the building to be ready for occupation soon after that.
The town did award some tenders for the project on Wednesday. Underfoot Flooring of Amherst was awarded the $55,829 tender for the supply and installation of flooring, including ceramic tile in the lobby and engineered hardwood floor in the boardroom.
Advanced Energy Management was awarded the $35,310 tender for the supply and installation of HVAC controls, while Eastern Restoration Services of Dartmouth received the $58,000 tender for millwork, including the supply and installation of council chamber desks, directors’ desks, and millwork and cabinetry located directly outside the council chamber.