Monday April 29, 2013

WILMINGTON -- Since Tropical Storm Irene, Memorial Hall hasn't been the same.

On April 22, a request for proposals went out for professional consulting services that would address architectural and engineering needs for Memorial Hall. Those who are interested in making bids on the project were invited to pre-bid site visits on April 25 and April 29.

The building is a Main Street fixture where craft fairs and plays are held. It is a community resource and gathering place where weddings have been held.

During Irene, Memorial Hall suffered some damage that the town of Wilmington has now requested designs for making repairs and improving the building.

"The basement, including the mechanical room, was significantly damaged. The boiler was rebuilt but is now failing and is in need of replacement," a document calling for proposals stated.

A thermal audit had been completed in December 2012. It came with recommendations and cost estimates.

"It is the intent and purpose of the town to develop a complete set of designs and specifications to restore the building to its original character, to provide an efficient heating and cooling system, to improve the building envelope including windows and window treatments and upgrade the electrical system to meet applicable electrical codes," the document said. "In an effort to reduce operating costs, improve occupant comfort and ensure the integrity of the building, the town desires for this building to be energy efficient."

The preliminary plans call for removing and disposing of existing floorboards and insulation from the main attic as well as creating an insulated walkway for access to the attic.

In the plans, it said that "holes in the existing roof were noted and must be repaired prior to insulation." The bid includes air sealing and insulating the stage roof. There are other locations such as doors where air sealing is necessary.

"As it stands, Memorial Hall is an extremely leaky building (actually, among the leakiest we have ever measured), but there are several factors to consider," a certified energy audit for the building by Jonathan Dancing said. "The basement walls are unfinished and so leak tremendously. There is a whole-building fan through the back wall above the stage which is not air sealed. The hatch leading to the attic is not air sealed. The windows are very leaky and the storm windows are not really functional so they were not in place during the audit. All the interior space in the building, including the basement, is connected."

The project is estimated to cost approximately $38,750. Proposals are due on May 20.

The town may seek grants and private donations for these upcoming renovation efforts. The design fees will be paid through money from the Memorial Hall capital fund.

Whichever firm is chosen to do the work should have drawings and specifications handed in to the town by July 31.

Chris Mays can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 273, or cmays@reformer.com. Follow Chris on Twitter @CMaysReformer.