WESTBOROUGH, Mass. - Rising construction costs means Town Meeting will be asked to approve more funds than originally planned for the renovation of Town Hall.
The total price tag for the work has risen to $7.8 million. Voters at Town Meeting will be asked to approve just over $7.35 million for the work. Some $400,000 for preliminary design work was approved earlier.
The increased cost includes a 5 percent increase in construction costs tied primarily to the improving economy and an additional $100,000 more than first expected for an owner’s project manager. It also includes $185,000 for leasing temporary office space while the work is being completed.
Town Manager James Malloy said officials hoped to keep offices in place during the project, but decided that would create an unsafe environment for both employees and the public.
“With the presence of asbestos and other considerations, doing the work would create an unsafe environment for not only employees but the public,” Malloy said. “We have a lot of people going in and out of here every paying bills and conducting business.”
Moving all offices out of the building -- some departments may be temporarily relocated accommodated in the Forbes municipal annex across the street -- may result in some savings when the project goes out to bid, Malloy added.
In addition to addressing long-needed roof and window repairs, the renovation would make the building handicap-accessible for the first time, adding elevators and ramps. The building would also get a boost in energy-efficiency.
The work is part of a larger package capital projects, including upgrades to the Forbes building that will allow for an expansion of police headquarters. An earlier plan to move all offices out of Town Hall -- and into vacant office space at nearby Bay State Commons -- drew the ire of many residents when first floated last year.