DALTON, Ga. -- Renovations at Dalton's historic post office will begin next week after City Council members awarded an $850,000 contract to replace the roof, build a new cupola and renovate the inside of the 100-year-old building.
Cope Brothers Construction was the lowest responsible bidder, according to the resolution the city council approved in a specially called meeting at City Hall on Thursday morning.
The renovated building will be rented to the Greater Dalton Chamber of Commerce and the Carpet and Rug Institute, bringing more people and businesses to a struggling downtown, officials say.
Cathy Snyder, with the Gregg Sims architectural firm, presented the plans for the renovation at the meeting. The project is expected to take about six months.
The most costly part of the renovation will be to remove the original slate roof, repair water damage and replace it with a recycled rubber product, Snyder said. "It will look just like the slate, but remove the weight from the slate roof," Snyder said.
It also will cost about $76,000 to remove the cupola with a crane and have a replica built to replace it. Snyder said a standard cupola would have cost about $40,000, but they recommended spending the additional money to match the original.
The cupola is modeled after Independence Hall in Philadelphia and was one of dozens placed on post offices during that time period, city manager Ty Ross said.
The inside of the building will not be restored to the original, but will be renovated with updated office space. Since the building previously was used as the Dalton school's central office, the post office boxes and other post office paraphernalia already have been removed, Snyder said.
The Greater Dalton Chamber of Commerce plans to deed its College Drive property to the city for a park and rainwater retention pond. The Carpet and Rug Institute will sell its College Drive business to the Dalton State Foundation to become part of Dalton State College.
Ross said the city also is working to secure public and private funding for another historic building in Dalton -- the Crown Mill Store.
Complete restoration would cost $190,000 to $200,000, Ross said.