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Woodstock completes roof work to Old Courthouse at cost of $1.05 million

WOODSTOCK – The city completed its restoration of the roof and dome at the Old Courthouse but not before decrepit gutters added unexpected costs, pushing the project total to more than $1.05 million.

The Woodstock City Council recently approved the project’s 15th change order, which covered work earlier this winter to design and replace the Old Courthouse’s original gutters that city officials said had deteriorated.

The gutters represent the numerous unexpected costs city officials encountered during the restoration of the historic Square property. Beginning in October 2013, the work to the roof and dome ultimately exceeded the original $775,250 contract by $283,562.

Cost overruns were necessary to ensure the Old Courthouse could last decades into the future, said City Manager Roscoe Stelford, who wouldn’t say whether the city had any buyer’s remorse with the property after officials acquired it in 2011.

“I’m just happy that the roof is done and should last well beyond my lifetime, and protect the building,” Stelford said. “You don’t want to start engaging in a project of this magnitude and not do it right.”

In the initial months of the project, contractors discovered rotted and rusted roofing materials throughout the interior of the cupola. City officials and council members have said the material damage could have blown the roofing off the dome.

The numerous change orders that followed likely were magnified by contractors being unable to examine the interior of the building during the bidding process because scaffolding wasn’t installed in time.

Once they gained access to the roof, they uncovered huge holes, Stelford said.

Restoration work to the adjacent Sheriff’s House also has exceeded the original $168,350 contract by $38,857, according to city documents. Contractors have been working since October to restore the stairs to the former sheriff’s residence and jail.

The council recently approved the project’s third change order for labor costs to build and heat an enclosure that protected cement materials for the stairs from freezing through December.

Officials also pushed back the project deadline from mid January to late April, allowing contractors to postpone the restoration work for the remaining winter and save costs to relocate the heat enclosure, Stelford said.

For both projects, city officials have used funds generated from its downtown tax increment financing district to cover the restoration work and the unexpected costs.

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