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By MIKE GIBSON
The operative word in the latest progress update on Kingston’s new city hall might be “snug.”
That’s a good a general word to describe the budget, some of the space allocation, and even progress toward meeting projected timelines for getting the new hall up and running.
Snug, but certainly not uncomfortable.
And no one is complaining, as the project seems to be going as well as can be expected for an endeavor of this magnitude.
“Basically, we’re asking for some sense of direction about the floor plan,” City Manager Jim Pinkerton told city council members at a Dec. 4 workshop. “Until then, we’re in a holding pattern. We’re not able to proceed any further.”
Kingston purchased the former Kingston Medical Plaza in the Ladd Landing retail area from Covenant Health earlier this year for the purpose of replacing its present city hall, which has become too small for the task.
The city borrowed $2 million for the purchase and retrofit; the retrofit budget stands at $498,000.
Pinkerton reported that the current estimate for expenditures is $498,000.
“That means we’ll have to be judicious,” he said. “Because the trend is usually to spend more than you think you have to.”
In the meantime, city officials have already made some adjustments. They have made floor plan changes on the first floor — yielding less space but more total offices — so that a little more could be spent upstairs, where the ceiling will have to be raised 18 inches to accommodate new council chambers.
The council was generally approving of Pinkerton’s plans, but asked them to be placed on this week’s agenda, mainly as a formality.
Pinkerton said that with the council go-ahead secured, the city can hired architects to create dimension drawings for the building’s heat, air conditioning and mechanical systems.
Once those renderings are finished, the city can begin parceling out work to contractors.
If all goes smoothly, Pinkerton said, that could happen by March.