Architect estimates new Laurinburg City Hall at $7.7 mil.

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LAURINBURG — A new Laurinburg City Hall may cost $7.7 million, but fixing up the current building could be even more expensive, according to a design firm hired by the city.

The Laurinburg City Council received an update on cost estimates this week from representatives of Creech and Associates Architectural Design and Edifice General Contractors.

Last year, the city began exploring the feasibility of a new municipal building to house the police department and City Hall, based in part on a 2013 space needs study indicating a need for 22,000 square feet to house various city departments. Between the municipal building and W. Charles Barrett Administration Building next door, the city currently has 15,000 square feet of space.

The price estimates given on Tuesday were based on the needs identified by that study, with an updated price per square foot.

“They verified the space needs, but they didn’t agree with the price per footage from 2013 so they updated it to what they felt was adequate,” said City Manager Charles Nichols. “They have to have the security of a police department.”

In September, the city signed on Creech and Associates to design a new City Hall and police department at a total estimated cost of $540,000 over a two- to three-year design and construction process. In January, the city opened the floor for bids from builders interested in signing onto the project, and last month council authorized staff to begin negotiating a contract with Edifice.

The proposed design for a new building calls for placing the Laurinburg Police Department and a utility customer service area on the ground floor and the city council chambers and all other city departments on the second floor.

The $7.7 million price tag for new construction would include the $91,000 estimated cost of demolition.

The option of renovating the current building was also presented, at a total cost of $9.2 million. That figure includes $2.1 million to renovate the existing municipal building, $2.1 million for a new addition to fulfill the need for more space, and $3.6 million for a new police station.

While constructing a new City Hall would involve demolition of the Barrett building, it is unclear how that office would be disposed of in a renovation scenario.

Renovation would include bringing City Hall into compliance with International Building Code and North Carolina Energy Code as well as refitting stairs, ramps, and restrooms in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The building would also be in line for total exterior renovation and upgrades to its technological and electrical infrastructure.

The city council took no action on Tuesday, and the previously-discussed design aspects of a new building are not set in stone.

“Those things can change as budgets are discussed,” Nichols said. “The last thing they left council with was that both Creech and Associates and Edifice are there to build whatever council is looking for and whatever is in council’s budget. That was a high-level, rough estimate from them.”

Council will discuss further action on the project in talks for the upcoming fiscal year’s budget beginning in May.

During the public comment period opening the meeting, several city residents voiced opposition to the project based on cost and necessity.

By Mary Katherine Murphy

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Reach Mary Katherine Murphy at 910-276-2311

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