With just a few coats of deck lacquer and new landscaping lights left to install, the Star Valley town hall is nearly fully open for business again.
In November, construction workers took over the space, ripping out walls and decking to install an office ell, expand a bathroom for handicap accessibility and add a wheelchair lift.
The $112,000 project has run smoothly and finished on time, a welcome relief for town staff, who have had to work at plastic-wrapped desks and maneuver around workers streaming in and out, said Town Manager and Attorney Tim Grier.
For all the dust and noise, finance administrator Chancy Nutt has a new work area that gives her more privacy and moves her out of the meeting area and into an alcove, Grier said. The 8-foot by 8-foot addition or “pop-out” cost $12,000 and ate up space on what was once a wrap-around porch.
But it gave Nutt badly needed privacy, he said. Nutt said visitors had full view of her computer screen and documents, which was unsafe, given the confidential financial records she typically handles.
The new area, which will have custom cabinets when finished, tucks her away and out of the main lobby, but still lets her greet visitors.
Just off the council meeting/reception area, an old bathroom has been knocked out and a new, handicap accessible one installed in its place. The bathroom is larger, allowing for wheelchair access, and does away with a closet that once housed a copy machine. All copy machines are now downstairs.
Grier expects construction work to end by the end of the week with the remaining bathroom fixtures installed and an outside elevator lift running.
Before the lift, there was no wheelchair access to town hall with a flight of stairs the only entrance.
The town council selected InterMountain West Civil Contractors to complete a majority of the construction work, coming in with the lowest overall bid of $88,000.
The wheelchair lift company installed the lift after InterMountain laid a concrete foundation and a new path.
As far as construction work goes, it has been great, Grier said.
“It is construction so it has been a challenge to run town hall as sawmills are going and walls are being torn down,” he said.
Town Clerk Lois Johnson has had a film of drywall dust on her desk for weeks.
“They have been good sports about it,” Grier said. “Any remodel is not fun to live through.”
While the town is covering the cost of Nutt’s new office with money from the general fund, the lift and handicap accessibility improvements are fully covered by a Community Development Block Grant.
The town gets CDBG funds every two years from the state to make improvements to benefit low- to moderate-income citizens and blighted neighborhoods. The town had initially dreamed of using the money for fire hydrants, but abandoned that idea because it did not have control over the water at the time and thus no water to send to hydrants once installed.
The remodeling project has stayed on budget and met the time outline, Grier said.
“They (InterMountain) did a great job.”
In a sign of the times, it wasn’t young construction workers doing the work, but older contractors doing it themselves, he said.
“It surprised me to see the median age was a whole lot older,” he said.
The quality of work was great and the new addition blends well with the aesthetics of the building, town staff said.
“I think it is real pretty,” Grier said.
With the building nearly done, the parking lot has also been given a makeover. Workers have removed a low wall out front and added a few more parking spaces.
On Jan. 17, the town will hold its first council meeting in the remodeled space at 6:30 p.m. An open house party will follow in the spring when it gets warmer, Grier said.