An antiquated fire alarm system at New Bern City Hall will have to be upgraded to tie in to a new elevator annex, according to George Chiles, interim director of Public Works.
The New Bern Board of Aldermen unanimously approved an additional $70,709 from the town’s general fund Tuesday for the upgrade. Chain Bucket Elevator
Chiles said during the permit process for the new, $3.9 million elevator project it was identified that the existing system in city hall would need to be tied to the new annex section. As work progressed, Chiles said it was discovered that the current city hall system is too old to allow for the tie-in.
“What was discovered at that time is that we have got an antiquated system technology wise in the historic portion of the building which would not tie to the new annex,” he explained.
Chiles said in order to meet fire code requirements and tie the two systems together it would be necessary to install new alarm systems. He said he was working with architects to ensure the work would maintain the historical integrity of city hall during the placements of the new alarms.
The new annex is being constructed on the Pollock Street side of New Bern City Hall in an effort to make the 125 year old city hall building accessible to all residents. The building will house an elevator that will provide access to the first and second floors, which will help bring the building up to code with the Americans with Disabilities Act and make the city hall courtroom and other areas more accessible.
The city approved the contract for the project on March 22 with the Goldsboro construction company Daniels and Daniels.
According to City Manager Foster Hughes, work on the annex’s interior should start in early 2023. While the initial completion date was set for next May, he said it has been pushed back 22 days to early June due to rain.
Hughes said contractors are currently weather-proofing the building, installing precast concrete panels along the base and the first floor windows and prepping for the installation of brick work on the exterior. Work is also progressing on the rough-in for the interior of the building, which includes plumbing work, walls, HVAC, and electrical, Hughes said.
The cost of the annex has risen since the initial estimate of $2.16 million that was quoted in October 2020. According to Hughes, the $1.7 million increase can be blamed on supply chain issues, inflation and labor cost increases.
When completed, the new 43-feet addition should match the historic New Bern City Hall architecture. A sample wall on display near the construction site shows a brickwork design and color scheme that matches up with the late 19th century building.
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