by Kara Lopp
Unexpected problems during the first three months of construction at the Matthews agriculture building and former Bradford Clinic nearly depleted the project’s contingency fund.
So town commissioners voted Monday, April 23, to increase the fund by $31,000. It had dipped to about $6,000 after starting out around $46,000. The additional cash is necessary to finish both buildings, project architect Frank Williams of Matthews-based 2 Architecture told commissioners. The town hired Monroe-based Sam Tyson Builders to renovate both buildings at a cost of $968,100. Town commissioners also hired Matthews-based The Construction Institute for $9,900 to help oversee the project. Renovations to both buildings are expected to be complete this summer.
“We can’t move forward with this without some additional funds,” Williams said, noting the bulk of the contingency funds – $18,548 – were used to correct structural problems found with the Bradford building.
“How were we to know your newest building was going to be in the worst shape?” he said. The building materials used at the Bradford building aren’t always matching with building plans, Williams said, and some necessary elements to keep water out of the building were missing, causing rot.
The town bought the former Bradford Clinic, at 196 S. Trade St., in 2006 for $1,005,000. Plans call for adding restrooms to the back of the building for residents visiting adjacent Stumptown Park. The project also includes replacing the roof, siding and mechanical systems.
The 4,400-square-foot, circa 1920s agriculture building at 123 McDowell St. – renamed this week as the McDowell Arts Center – was built to complement the former Matthews High School, now the Matthews Community Center. The town bought the building from the school district in 2008 for $1 and entered into an interlocal agreement to renovate the building. Renovations to the building will include repairs to the rooms on the first and second floors, the addition of restrooms and an elevator. The building could offer additional space for cultural, art and recreational programming, including camps and classes for youth and adults.