Work is in full swing to complete renovations to the McDowell Arts Center and former Bradford Clinic in downtown Matthews but officials aren’t yet sure if the arts building will be open to the public when Matthews Alive! comes Labor Day weekend.
During a construction update for commissioners last week, construction officials said the bulk of the roofing on the arts building, formerly known as the agriculture building, was completed and Pella windows were installed. But brick work on the circa 1920s building was going to push the completion date to at least Aug. 28, just days before the start of the festival. The Matthews Artists Guild has plans to use the building for the festival’s annual art show.
The Bradford building’s new restroom addition and parking lot will, however, be available for the festival, officials said. The restrooms are ready for tiling and fixtures are being installed.
Unexpected problems during the first three months of construction nearly depleted the project’s contingency fund, so town commissioners voted in April to increase the fund by $31,000. It had dipped to about $6,000 after starting out around $46,000.
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. Matthews bought the former Bradford Clinic, at 196 S. Trade St., in 2006 for $1,005,000. The project includes the addition of public restrooms at the back of the building for residents visiting adjacent Stumptown Park, replacing the roof, siding and mechanical systems.
The 4,400-square-foot, agriculture building at 123 McDowell St. – renamed recently 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.