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Maiden considers new town hall

September 22, 2011

Maiden officials are planning to build a $1.7 million town hall, but it’s unclear if the building will become a reality.

Town council members voiced their approval on Monday for renderings of a new 11,240-square-foot town hall that would feature a community room, multiple conference rooms and more offices for town officials. The building, which would be located at 19 N. Main Ave. in Maiden, has a projected cost of about $1.7 million.

The council has not officially approved the building’s construction, but it did support a schematic design presented on Monday by CBSA Architect Marty Beal. The council preferred a more “traditional” design over another that had a projected cost of $1.4 million.

“It looks good, and I think the citizens deserve what looks good,” said Maiden Mayor Bob Smyre. “I truly believe that town staff and the architects have developed a building that looks outstanding and fits our needs and more importantly will be an asset to the citizens of Maiden. It was important to us to make any new building as citizen friendly as possible.”

CBSA Architects is currently working to put together construction documents to go out for bid, a process that should take between three and four months, said Maiden Town Manager Todd Herms. It will take another two to three months for the bids to come back, he said.

The council will vote on whether or not to construct the building after the bid process is completed and a funding model is formed.

“Council has placed funds back each year to go toward a project like this,” Herms said. “We are also going to look at loan programs as well as grant opportunities. Even though council has not yet officially voted to construct a building, they have stated several times and gave me the directive to develop a funding plan that does not include any tax increases and/or fee increases as a result of building a new town hall.”

Maiden officials have been thinking about the new facility for years, Herms said, but wanted to make sure they could pay for it without cutting services and increasing taxes and fees. About two years ago, Maiden’s council voted to start talking to architects about the project.

“Hopefully, within six to eight months, council will have enough information to hold a vote on whether or not to start the construction of a new town hall,” Herms said. “They know and understand that any new building will need to be able to support the town for at least 40 years, and with the price of construction at an all-time low as well as interest rates being below 4 percent, we are researching to make sure this is the best time to start this type of project.”

From old to new

Maiden officials said they have outgrown their current facility, which was constructed in 1921 and originally had three stories. But after the top floors suffered fire damage, Herms said they were removed because of safety issues, Herms said.

Since 1921, Maiden has used the current town hall for its police department, fire department and council chambers. Herms said after so much use, the building is in need of extremely costly repairs, upgrades and more space.

“At this time, we are looking at building a new faculty because it would be more cost effective rather than renovate a building that does not have enough room in it that we need now, and in the future,” Herms said. “When, and if, council decides to build a new faculty, it would include new council chambers. Therefore, the current space used by council could be used by Catawba County to expand the library, basically doubling its size.”

What’s inside?

Because Maiden’s existing town hall was built in 1921, it lacks the space and easy access to many modern day necessities, including the Internet and adequate storage space.

The planned new facility will feature not only the things Maiden needs now, but will also be set up for the future as well, Herms said.

“They are addressing their current needs, but also have a foresight in the future,” Beal said during his presentation to council members on Monday. “They want something they can be proud of and also have something that will last for the next 50 years.”

The new town hall will feature increase in both public and office spaces.

For town officials, the building provides an area more suitable to operating a government, Herms said. In addition to personal offices for the town manager, mayor, clerk, planner, attorney and finance director, the building provides two conference rooms for public officials, according to a floor plan of the potential building.

Public areas include a community room, larger council chambers, lobby that leads to a customer service counter and food preparation area, according to the floor plan.

“Currently, we have leaks in the roof, the groundwater comes in downstairs from where the weather proofing has broken down over the years,” Herms said. “The building does not have the infrastructure needed to run an efficient local government. It is hard for me as manager or the mayor and council to ask an outside company to come into Maiden and invest money here, if we are not willing to invest in ourselves.”

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