FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CHICOPEE – On Tuesday June 19, 2018 the Chicopee City Council approved an Order filed by Mayor Richard J. Kos authorizing the City to bond for up to $16,000,000 to advance the City Hall Phase I Rehabilitation project.
At 147 years old, City Hall proper designed by Charles E. Parker, was constructed between 1870 and 1871. City Hall Annex was constructed between 1927 and 1929. The only significant rehabilitation project completed on the buildings occurred during 1977 and 1979 when the City advanced a rehabilitation project that focused mostly on office configurations, auditorium updates and internal finishes. Since 1980, no major rehabilitation projects beyond minor maintenance activities have been completed on either building. The historic auditorium was closed to the public circa 2003 following the failure and collapse of plaster finishes from the ceiling and upper walls of the space.
The City Hall Phase I Rehabilitation project includes the following general areas of rehabilitation scope:
- Exterior Scope:
- Slate roof repairs and complete replacement of membrane roof systems;
- Installation of roof snow guard & building lighting protection systems;
- Foundation repairs;
- Stone, brick & masonry replacement and/or repair & repointing
- Stained glass window restoration and complete replacement of all non-stained glass windows; and
- Clock tower & rose window structural upgrades.
- Interior Scope:
- Required accessibility upgrades (ADA & MAAB requirements);
- Full replacement of building fire alarm system;
- Significant HVAC system upgrades;
- Restroom renovations on all four (4) floors; and
- Auditorium rehabilitation.
The City Hall Phase I Rehabilitation Project was initiated in spring 2015 following the structural collapse of stone tracery and stained glass from City Hall’s iconic rose window. Following this structural failure, the City contracted with Dietz & Company Architects of Springfield, MA to advance a survey of all stained glass windows in the buildings and complete an overall evaluation of the buildings’ current condition including structural evaluations completed by Gale Associates of Weymouth, MA. This analysis work was combined into a final report known as the Historic Structure Report (HSR). The Report recommended emergency stabilization measure to addresses structural deficiencies including:
- Risk of additional stained glass windows falling out of window openings,
- Stabilization of deteriorated stone, brick and masonry components; and
- Protection of public safety.
Emergency stabilization efforts were completed during summer 2016 and were intended as temporary stabilization measures to allow the City to complete design and engineering documents for the complete Phase I Rehabilitation project per recommendations in the HSR. City staff has been working with Dietz & Company Architects since early 2017 to complete Phase I design and engineering. Plans are scheduled for completion and bidding in fall 2018. Construction activities are anticipated to begin in December 2018 and continue for at least 18 months.
The approval of the bonding measure allows the City to complete the bidding process and sign contracts with a qualified contractor to complete the project. The City will continue to research and develop grant proposals to grant programs which look to support historic rehabilitation projects similar in scope to the City Hall Phase I Rehabilitation project. All grants secured by the City will reduce the total funding borrowed via the bond measure. To date a total of $2,502,516.67 has been secured in support of the project as follows:
- $1,200,000 – City Council FY 2018 Appropriation;
- Up to $935,516.17 – Charter/PEG Access Account (for technology components); and
- $367,000 – Green Community’s Designation Award.
The City will advance proposals to the following programs in support of the project:
- Green Communities annual competitive grants;
- MA Cultural Facilities Fund;
- MA Office of Disability grants; and
- CEL Efficiency Rebate program.
Mayor Richard J. Kos stated “City Hall is in need of extensive repairs and doing so now will prevent further deterioration and potential structural collapses of stone work from occurring. Completing the project now minimizes the potential for increased costs if further deterioration occurs.”
Lee M. Pouliot, Director of Planning & Development who has been the City lead on this project extended thanks to the City Council for their support of the City Hall Phase I Rehabilitation project. Pouliot stated, “Chicopee City Hall is a well-known historic icon that defines Chicopee Center and provides an ever-present historic link to the City’s past. The City’s founders realized the importance of such a structure for the civil and social events of the City. Today’s commitment ensures that Chicopee City Hall will continue to provide future generations with an invaluable link to our heritage and history while ensuring City Staff are provided a healthy workplace to provide services to the residents of Chicopee.”