A 100-foot tall monolith of scaffolding and green mesh has enveloped City Hall.
And with that scaffolding in place, work has moved on schedule with a more than $2 million project to restore the historic building's roof and entry ways.
The scaffolding alone, which surrounds the four ventilators and lower part of the clock tower, took Peabody-based Campbell Construction nearly three months to assemble beginning in early April. Now, the company has started replacing and repainting woodwork on the ventilators and the clock tower.
The plan calls for finishing the rooftop restoration by December, said Community Preservation Committee Co-Chairman J.J. Bell — and, he said, the latest work is on budget and on schedule.
Bell said the company is now focusing on the ventilators and the lower half of the clock tower.
Campbell restored the upper part of the tower a few years ago, during the first phase of City Hall restoration work. City Hall Restoration Committee Chairwoman Maggie Rosa said in an email to the Times that the company is two-thirds of the way through stripping paint off the lower half of the tower as well.
When that work is finished, Bell said, construction crews will move to the roof, the cornices and the three entryway porticos. Campbell has also installed an air-conditioning system on the first floor of City Hall, and will fix some of the windows before it completes the project.
"The enormity of the project is highlighted by the staging," said Rosa. "It's hard to miss that something very significant is happening to the building."
Campbell's contracting schedule lists the latest phase of the project as budgeted at $2.09 million, and unless something unforeseen happens, said Bell, it'll finish within the $2.3 million that the restoration committee budgeted — including some contingency money.
Because the $2.3 million exceeds the building's $1.79 million assessed value by 30 percent, the project includes several efforts to bring the building up to Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards.
Rosa said the city has also created two more handicap parking spaces on Dale Avenue, and the committee will purchase two wheelchairs for use in City Hall. Rosa added that the committee received two Community Development Block Grants for bringing the bathrooms on the ground floor into ADA compliance, and for installing automatic door openers.
As for the next step, the restoration committee is looking at restoring the exterior walls, member Steve Dexter said. But, he added, organizers haven't yet pulled either plans or money for the next phase of work.
"What's next?" said Dexter, president of Carroll K. Steele Insurance. "What's next could be brick work, but we're not sure how we're going to do that."
Steven Fletcher may be contacted at 1-978-283-7000 x3455, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @stevengdt.