Painting the ceiling of the first-floor dome, catching up on exterior maintenance and planting bushes are the Atascadero City Council’s top three choices to add to the historic City Administration Building’s restoration list as mandatory projects come under budget.
The city hall extras discussed at Tuesday’s council meeting are among possible projects that crews can take on while they are already fixing the four-story 1917 building damaged in the 2003 San Simeon earthquake.
The extras would contribute to the building’s historical character and are not mandatory repairs to reoccupy it, according to the city.
One example of that is staining interior wood detailing as originally done instead of painting it.
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The wish list items would only be paid with city money, because the Federal Emergency Management Agency doesn’t pay for anything not quake related.
Among those not set as priority are adding a disabled-access ramp to the north end for an estimated $59,000, hanging pendant lights for an estimated $30,000, and replacing fluorescent lights with historic fixtures throughout for an estimated $54,500.
FEMA has agreed to a list of quake-caused repairs expected to cost about $28 million.
The city will pay an additional $12.9 million for work outside FEMA’s pledge, such as code upgrades to systems such as the fire sprinklers to get staff back in the building.
In summer 2010, the city took out an $18 million bond to pay for its share and also for unrelated Redevelopment Agency projects.
Cleaning a decorative eagle on the building’s exterior is another example of the extras. Through years of putting off maintenance on the building, moss has grown over the carving.
“So, yes, it makes sense to clean it now while the scaffolding is already up and the crews are working beside it,” said Rachelle Rickard, the city’s administrative services director.
The city has saved about $2 million so far from bids coming in under budget. Staff will still work to keep a surplus for the unexpected throughout the life of project.
The council selected its top three picks among 14 extras presented to them.
But the council’s selections aren’t the final say.
“It’s more of a ‘Hey, if we can do these, let’s find a way to do (them),’ ” Rickard said of the options the council set as its priority.
The city will ultimately bid projects that are most cost effective.
So far, the city has bid four of the 15 required projects to restore the building.
That includes work done on the basement floor, basement walls and a tree removal.
The fourth is the penthouse project — removing four rooms from the upper dome — slated to begin Wednesday.
The City Council’s top three extras
Decorative ceiling paint — estimated at $168,000. The ornate plaster ceiling in the lower rotunda is an original feature of the building. A decorative paint scheme would highlight its intricate features and enhance the overall character of the space. Historians guess that the ceiling was meant to be painted one day but costs from World War I delayed it.
Exterior work — estimated at $194,500. Crews would catch up on maintenance work that’s been put off over the years such as fixing cracks, rebuilding broken window sills, cleaning, etc.
New landscaping — estimated at $256,600. FEMA only pays for new grass seed. Additional landscaping would include low bushes and flowering plants, plus restoration of the fountains in the Sunken Gardens park. Council would also like to:
Re-open the second-floor overlooks covered up over the years — estimated at $37,400. The building originally had overlooks from the second floor overlooking the first floor. The overlooks allowed additional natural daylight into the lower rotunda.
Decorate the lower rotunda’s lower curved walls — estimated at $67,200 for fabric or $78,400 for plaster.
Stain the wood instead of paint it — estimated at $36,800. This would upgrade the wood on the upper mezzanine floor, railings and door sidelights that are currently stained. FEMA would pay to paint those. The stain finish would match the historic appearance.
Source: City of Atascadero