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Old Courthouse dome costing more than Woodstock officials had hoped

Published: Wednesday, June 4, 2014 4:49 p.m. CDT
(H. Rick Bamman)
Northwest Herald file photo The biggest construction project Woodstock has undertaken on the Old Courthouse is costing more money than expected. City Council members were expected to pass a third change order Tuesday night, this one for about $32,000 extra. Further damage has been revealed on the structure as construction crews have worked.

WOODSTOCK – Unexpected costs uncovered during restorations to the Old Courthouse dome now total more than $80,000.

The Woodstock City Council on Tuesday approved a change order to send another $32,608 toward the project to repair the dome and roof of the historic building. The original contract for the work was to cost the city about $775,000, according to the change order.

Officials had previously authorized about $50,000 in extra funds for the project prior to Tuesday's addition, which brings the total cost to about $858,000.

City Planner Nancy Baker said officials had expected that additional funds might be needed to address complications found during construction on the old building. But the surprises on the cupola have outstretched what officials had hoped they'd come across, she added.

"It's definitely been more than we thought there would be," Baker said. "But it's not a feeling of frustration. We're just hopeful that it doesn't continue."

Issues with the dome have likely been magnified by the fact that contractors couldn't get a close look at it during the bid process because scaffolding wasn't installed at the time.

"There will always be some surprises that come up, but not the extent of unknowns that there were with this one," Baker said. "Until they really got up there and started taking it off layer by layer, they just couldn't tell what they would find."

Crews are finishing installation of copper to the structure this week. They will remove the upper part of the scaffolding and then begin working on the roof itself in coming weeks, Baker said.

The expected date of completion on the project has been moved from June 30 to Sept. 30.

The city is currently sorting through a proposal to buy the Old Courthouse and Sheriff's House and a separate proposal to buy the Sheriff's House only. The options were revealed last month at the deadline of a request for proposals that went out in January.

Officials haven't determined when the proposals will next stir discussion at a public meeting, Baker said.

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