By Linda Dillman
Completion of Canal Winchester’s new municipal complex is in a temporary holding pattern as the city waits on installation of fiber optics connections from WOW.
“Right now, it’s a concentration of data, telecom and security access type items and getting those wrapped up,” said Construction Services Administrator Bill Sims during a Feb. 22 Canal Winchester City Council work session. “Putting the IT rooms together and testing out those facilities…those all hinge on WOW bringing in their fiber to the facility. They’re waiting on a piece of equipment at this point.”
Sims said furniture is being installed in all of the office areas and the new community center at the west end of the building looks finished. He anticipates city offices to open around the third to fourth week in March.
“When we started the project, the work basically progressed from the west end of the building in the community center area to the council chamber,” Sims said. “So, the council chamber is basically the last thing wrapping up. There probably is a possibility council might not move to that chamber location until after we’re in the offices.”
Mayor Mike Ebert said that empty space at the far west end of the complex has not yet been leased by an outside entity. He said the city has “feelers out, but nothing concrete yet.”
The old Steube Community Center to the south of the new complex closed permanently at the end of the day on Feb. 25 after serving the public since the 1980s. It will be torn down to make way for additional parking spaces.
Sims said they are going to give it their best shot in salvaging an old shelter house that is part of the center, but the structure experienced a lot of water damage over the years.
A March 21 target reopening date for the new center is anticipated, but dates are fluid due to potential issues, with the WOW connection topping the list.
“We anticipate demolition of the current building in mid to late March,” said Sims, with “parking lot work in April. That should move along pretty well.”
Sims also updated council on plans to convert the old municipal building at 36 S. High St. into a police substation. He said preliminary plans came in a little higher than expected.
“There was a bit more work involved when you get to the nitty gritty of the HVAC system and electrical items,” said Sims, who anticipates bringing a request to waive the competitive bidding process to council by the second meeting in March. “Ideally I’d like to move forward with something from Ferguson Construction. We contract with them currently and it would be extremely similar work. I think we can do this as a design build. We have some criteria sketches and I think we’d be well suited to do a design-build scenario with the contractor. I think we’ll save ourselves potentially $10,000 in efforts.”
Part of the costs associated with the renovation of 36 S. High St. not considered in the city’s preliminary estimate was moving doors and walls and the impact that has on service systems and lighting.
Since they are working on the new municipal complex, Sims said the city took advantage of asking Ferguson Construction to estimate the cost of the project.