The Signal Mountain Town Council has approved an additional $30,000 in funding for renovations and repairs to the Mountain Arts Community Center, which is expected to be fully reopened by late April, said Town Manager Boyd Veal. The funding vote was unanimous.
Work necessary to complete the project includes installing sprinklers in the back portion of the building, adding another sidewalk required by the state fire marshal from the rear of the cafeteria to the back alleyway, making alterations to what is now the kitchen to provide Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant egress, and adding duct work, all at a cost of $27,637.14.
Veal said the town also looked at renovations and repairs that were previously discussed to identify any that could be eliminated. Since they are now adding sprinklers to the back of the building, a firewall separating the back from the front is no longer necessary.
"This should get us to completion of the project to the point that the building as a whole can be opened and utilized," said Veal.
The building, the front portion of which is 93 years old, has been partially closed for repairs and renovations including sprinkler installation, mold remediation, structural and site drainage issues. The town originally allotted $300,000 for the center's renovation in its FY2019 budget. When the initial bids came in higher than expected, an additional $200,000 was diverted to the project from the $800,000 that had been budgeted to rebuild the Marion and Driver baseball fields.
The additional $30,000 is coming out of the town's capital projects fund until a budget amendment is passed, said Veal.
The most recent fund allocation brings the total amount spent to around $600,000, he said. Carol Thompson-White, the town's financial director and recorder, said the building has been appraised at $2 million for insurance purposes.
The work at the MACC is expected to be complete by late April. It is unlikely that it will be finished prior to the town's centennial celebration, said Veal.
Since most of the work will be overhead, Veal said he doesn't anticipate that the back portion of the building will need to be closed during the repairs, although some scheduling adjustments may be necessary. The state requires that the front of the building remain closed until the full project is complete.
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