September 23, 2008
Homer Town Hall work almost done
An addition, elevator and other renovations have been completed
Bob Ellis/staff photographer
A new addition, including an elevator, has been added to the northeast side of the Homer Town Hall. The $708,000 renovation project is nearing completion, with the only remaining work being the paving of a new parking lot and replacement of the building’s windows. Town officials eventually hope to renovate the building’s historic third-floor auditorium.
HOMER — The renovation project for the 100-year-old Town Hall will be finished as soon as the new parking lot is paved and the building’s windows are replaced, Town Supervisor Fred Forbes said.
The work already completed, which includes general construction, electrical work, plumbing and heating, air conditioning and ventilation work, cost $708,100, which is $31,316 more than town officials expected.
The building houses a courtroom and the offices of the town supervisor, the town clerk, the assessor, the mayor and the Homer Village clerk, and a senior citizens center.
Architects from Syracuse-based firm Crawford and Stearns and construction workers from Syracuse-based Diamond and Thiel have remodeled the outer front of the building to repair damage. They’ve also added an addition to the northeast side of the building to make room for a new, more spacious courtroom, a stairway and a wheelchair-accessible elevator required to meet modern building codes.
The front steps and bricks on the building front, both of which had become laden with cracks, were replaced, and the white Roman-style columns in the front were re-painted. The cupola on top of the dome on the roof was also replaced.
Forbes said the renovation project “greatly benefits the village by enlivening the look on Main Street.”
“The repair has been much needed for many, many years,” Forbes said. “And we’ll continue to work at it in stages.”
Construction workers are developing a new parking lot next to the building, a project that Forbes expects to cost at least $75,000 and be finished in a couple of months. This includes the cost of purchasing a vacant house from the county for $34,220 in back taxes, demolishing the house and paving the lot.
The architects are also writing specifications for bids to replace all of the building’s windows. Forbes expects the specifications to be completed in the next four weeks.
Diamond and Thiel was hired to do the general construction for $540,000, Endwell-based Nelcorp Electrical was hired to do the electrical work for about $57,000, Binghamton-based Climate Control Tech was hired to do the heating, air conditioning and ventilation work for about $63,000, and LaFayette-based DWB was hired to do the plumbing work for about $16,500. These bids added to $676,784.
Change orders, or expenses higher than those anticipated, included $23,227 for general construction, $2,652 for electrical work and $5,914 for air conditioning, heating, and ventilation. The cost of plumbing amounted to $477 less than expected.
Forbes said the town eventually plans to renovate the auditorium and possibly turn the space into offices, but that is not part of the current project.
When Homer Town Hall opened in 1908, shows were held in the auditorium for audiences of 700 people. In 1938, the auditorium was turned into a movie theater after 103 people signed a petition calling for the leasing of the building as a theater. It was called the Capital Theater because the building’s architectural resemblance to the Capital Building in Washington, D.C.
Other notable features inside the historic building include an old-fashioned ticket booth from the Capital Theater and a cigar store “Indian Princess,” a wooden sculpture of an American Indian woman holding a bundle of cigars that was built in the 1800s.
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