Work that will allow the re-opening of the Bay Spring Community Center’s second floor was approved by the Barrington Town Council Monday evening.
The second floor includes a stage and large meeting area that was used for musical performances before it was shut down almost two years ago.
The $89,700 contract was awarded to Tower Construction of Cranston. The company will install and enclose a vertical lift on the east side of the building on Narragansett Avenue to make it accessible to the handicapped. It will repair stairs on the south side of the building to meet fire codes.
“It’s very exciting news,” said Dave Parkhurst, who heads the Friends of the Bay Spring Community Center organization. “I’m very happy we’re finally moving forward. It’s a great resource for the town.”
The Friends raised about $7,000 to put toward the cost of the project at the former fire station. Most of the cash for the work is coming out of the town’s capital budget -- $80,000. The Town Council is chipping in $2,700 from its contingency fund.
The second floor was closed down by Town Manager Peter DeAngelis Jr. in June of 2011 because using it for public events violated the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Several Local Brew Coffeehouse events were held on the second floor, for instance, before they were nixed.
Those shows, which featured local musicians and entertainers, were then moved to the much smaller first floor – the former apparatus bay area. The Friends immediately began working with the town to try to re-open the second floor.
Barrington had completed $118,000 worth of renovations in 2010, including new handicapped accessible bathrooms, an office/kitchen area, a handicap ramp in the apparatus bay area, the installation of a sprinkler system throughout the building, electrical work, and some structural repairs.
The Town also has used $10,500 in grant funding to replace the building’s hot water tank and the old boiler with a more efficient system.
Tower Construction anticipates construction starting on April 2, said Town Planner Phil Hervey, and finishing the work within 60 days or around the end of May. The lift has been ordered and is expected to be installed by the end of June.
The vote for the additional renovations to the building was 5-0 even though Town Councilor Ann Strong said she thought the Friends of the Bay Spring Community Center had committed to raising $15,000 for the work.
DeAngelis said her recollection was correct. But the budget for the renovations was revised based on changes made to the scope of work because of new fire codes and working with the two bidders to lower their estimates.
That produced a shortfall of only $2,700, which the Town Council was asked to make up so the work could be started now.
"We're only $2,700 away from making this happen," he said.