Update on Meridian City Hall

Work underway now on Meridian City Hall includes removing lowered ceilings, adding new staircases and exposing windows that had been covered for years. As much as possible, the building is being restored to its original design.

"It's like plaster and they made it look like marble, and that's the type finish that we're going back to," said Ed Skipper, city clerk and chief financial officer for Meridian.

From the restoration of the marble and wood flooring to all the windows being replaced with the same kind that were originally used, city officials say this process has cost much more than expected.

"The issue with any old building is, you don't know what you're getting into until you take off some of the components and get down to the basics," Skipper said. "There were costs associated with contract work being higher post-Katrina. Petroleum prices were going up at that point, which affects the costs of everything."

Built in 1914, Meridian City Hall is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Skipper says this alone has presented some additional challenges, especially as contractors work to meet modern building codes while preserving the building's historic integrity.

"We're governed by Archives and History rules and they require certain levels," said Skipper. "Where we may have proposed a less costly set of windows, for example, we had to get the higher cost window to restore the historic nature of the building."

Prior to work starting and any evaluations being done, the estimated cost for the project was around $8 million. With all of the unforeseen expenses that have emerged, Skipper says, in the end, the project will likely cost twice that, around $17 million.

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  • by Laura Location: Meridian on Mar 19, 2010 at 07:38 PM
    Note to Mayor Barry: I really don't know why you wanted this job so badly, especially considering the way that John Robert Smith has totally screwed the City of Meridian and the citizens of Meridian. I think, Mayor, that your heart is in the right place, and I think you want the best for us as an entity, but you are facing a LOT of problems, which are not of your doing. I wish you the best---I really do, but you are going to have to overcome a tremendous amount, both literally and figuratively, which was engendered by the previous administration. Go for it, Mayor!
  • by Anonymous on Mar 19, 2010 at 06:40 PM
    Do you really think the building will be open next spring? I think not! Heck, since they cant get right on a BRIDGE after delay after delay after another delay, Im starting to be convienced that they do not know what they are doing
  • by Marble head on Mar 19, 2010 at 01:25 PM
    Wow! The price of just went from $8million to $17million. And we are supposed to be experiencing a revenue shortfall, and there is talk of lay-offs, furloughs, etc. Get real. Seems to me this project should be put on hold til better days. No one has complained of a loss of city services in the current temporary location. the city should have expected that Dept of Archives would require them to maintain the historical features that should not have been a surprise. They have dealt with issue like that before when other have developed historical building downtown. Are we being snowballed, railroaded, or bamboozled.
  • by RC Location: Meridian on Mar 19, 2010 at 08:07 AM
    The government is the only entity that will get a bid on a project and when there are cost overruns the government just pays them. When a corporate entity gets a bid on a project it is built for that price. No give us extra money, no the cost of fuel went up, no what ever excuse we can think of now. Corporate entities get it done on time and under budget; then the builder gets paid and gets a bonus. There is none of this "it cost us more than we thought." The people in charge are not the most qualified, they are just a bunch of con-artists. Did we even need the building restored? If you think this was bad let them start on the three-foot project. You want to see Meridian really go into a hole!
  • by Anonymous Location: Lauderdale on Mar 18, 2010 at 08:30 PM
    Now what?
  • by Anonymous Location: Meridian on Mar 18, 2010 at 07:57 PM
    And he is late paying his property taxes AGAIN. Guess he was best spending other peoples money.
  • by Anonymous Location: Meridian on Mar 18, 2010 at 07:52 PM
    Screwed up Meridian then left for Washington DC. Thank you Mr. Smith.
  • by Laura Location: Meridian on Mar 18, 2010 at 03:54 PM
    Agreed, Chuckles. John Robert Smith has screwed up Meridian so royally.
  • by Anonymous on Mar 18, 2010 at 03:53 PM
    true now meridian is underwater more or less and every time things get done that needed you will hear it being a race issues... wonder when the south will grown up and get with the times rather then play follow the leader or want-a-be leaders
  • by R.U. Serious Location: Meridian on Mar 18, 2010 at 03:30 PM
    No matter who, what or why; the same problem justifiers are making the expenditure decisions. Is this the best Meridian can do to provide stalwarts of the taxpayers money?
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