Windsor OKs renovation contract

Published 5:50 pm Tuesday, March 20, 2018

By Diana McFarland

Managing editor

WINDSOR — Windsor residents can anticipate using a newly renovated Windsor Town Center this fall.

The Windsor Town Council voted 4-2 March 13 to accept a $1.1 million contract with A.R. Chesson Construction to renovate the interior of what is being called the Windsor Town Center. 

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Council member Patty Flemming, who was out of town for a family matter, voted in favor of the project via speaker phone, while fellow members Macon Edwards and Walter Bernacki voted against it. {mprestriction ids=”1,2,3,4,5,6″}

Following the vote to accept the contract, the Council voted 4-2 to move $800,000 from the space needs budget and $300,000 from reserves to cover the cost of the contract.

Edwards and Bernacki voted against that as well. 

The Windsor Town Center is located in the former Windsor Middle School gym that was saved as the new Georgie D. Tyler Middle School was being built. It has been envisioned as a place for recreation, meetings, rentals and more. 

The vote came after a long discussion among Council members, and nearly every seat in the municipal building was filled with residents. 

Bernacki said he had knocked on doors and concluded that those he had spoken to were concerned about the cost. 

“The silent majority is also there,” he said about those who spoke to him during his door knocking campaign. 

Edwards acknowledged that the project needed to get up and running, but did not think it needed to be as elaborate as outlined in the contract. He was also concerned with the arrangement being forged with Isle of Wight County Parks and Recreation on managing the facility. 

Edwards wanted to wait until all details were ironed out with the county. 

Mayor Rita Richardson pointed out that some features had been removed, such as the youth art room, but that the kitchen needed to remain as a way to attract rental traffic. 

Richardson added that the town would not have to raise taxes to pay for the interior renovations. 

“This is our only chance for a large community place … it’s a service to our community,” she said. 

Council member Durwood Scott said there was no need to borrow money since the town already had the funds set aside for the project. He was in favor of accepting donations, however.  

Council member Tony Ambrose said the resident advisory board that was formed is supposed to have a hand in raising money to run the facility. Ambrose was in favor of borrowing a portion of the cost and then accepting donations to pay it off. 

The contract includes a reduction of $268,600 from the original contract amount, and that includes removing or changing certain items, such as deleting the family bathroom and acoustic panels in the gym, according to a spreadsheet provided by town staff. 

The entire project cost is $1.28 million, which includes a 10 percent contingency fund and 4 percent to cover construction administration costs. 

Project Manager Brian Camden with Alpha Corporation said the project would take 150 calendar days to complete once the contract was enacted, with a finish date scheduled for mid-August. 

After the votes, Richardson told the audience that while the process seemed painful on the surface, it reflected a Town Council that was very careful with spending taxpayer money. 

The Windsor Town Center project has been in the works since 2012, and has received donations and labor from many individuals and organizations, including the Windsor Woman’s Club, the Obici Healthcare Foundation and the Isle of Wight County Board of Supervisors. {/mprestriction}