SULLIVAN’S ISLAND — Six companies are vying to build the new Town Hall next to the Fire Department on Middle Street.
The firms this week applied to be the “construction manager at-risk” for the project. Council will pick one of the companies to manage the work. A decision could come as early as December or January, said Mayor Pro-Tem Jerry Kaynard.
Selection of a construction manager at-risk allows the primary contractor to be chosen based on qualifications before the project design is complete. The architect and construction manager work together on the design, and then the construction manager submits a guaranteed maximum price and coordinates all subcontract work, according to the American Institute of Architects.
Firms listed as competing for the Town Hall project are Hill Construction; Meadors; NBM Construction Co. Inc.; Phillip W. Smith, general contractor; Thompson Turner Construction; and Trident Construction.
Kaynard said options for financing the multimillion-dollar project include the sale of general obligation bonds and three town-owned lots. He declined to discuss in detail projected costs for the new Town Hall because a contract had not been awarded.
Town Hall moved into trailers in 2011 because the 106-year-old building where it had been located for more than 40 years was found to be infested with mold, mildew and rats. Employees complained that they felt ill while working there.
The new municipal building will have about 8,000 square feet, which is comparable to the space at the old Town Hall. Construction is scheduled for completion in 2015.
The architectural style of the new Town Hall has been the subject of public discussion at two community meetings.
“There really currently is not a design. We will be moving toward that very, very soon,” said David Creech, an architect with Creech & Associates.
Final design will probably be completed in the first quarter of next year, he said.
“We know (residents) really don’t want a large, grandiose building. We’re trying to keep it really scaled back.” The Town Hall will be a “humble, friendly sort of building,” Creech said.
Anonymous comments about preferences for the Town Hall design are published in the architect’s summary of the first community meeting. One resident suggested “simple elegance” that reflects island history. Another said, “Don’t feel that the Town Hall should say WOW and BIG.”
The old Town Hall, also on Middle Street, is not on the market, and council has not decided whether to try to rehabilitate the building, Kaynard said.
The Town Hall project also includes improvements to adjacent Stith Park, such as public restrooms, a small amphitheater and new pathways. The new two-story municipal building will be elevated about eight feet but will not be taller than the fire station. It will enable Sullivan’s to better maintain essential services and protect town records during a storm, Kaynard said.
There has been some discussion about whether to put the police department in the new Town Hall or in another building behind it. Kaynard favors locating all town services in the same building for security reasons, and council seems to be inclined that way too, he said.