FITCHBURG CITY HALL
With a failing cooling tower and an antiquated handicapped lift, City Hall needed, at a minimum, to address the issues of accessibility and air conditioning. Recognizing that these were not the only problems the building had, the City commissioned a study to explore long-term solutions. Suffering from a minimal budget for capital improvements, the building had fallen into considerable disrepair. In addition, the building configuration, with its additions and multiple floor levels, was inherently difficult to efficiently plan and utilize. The facility, including its associated two-story parking structure, was fully assessed and a number of alternative master plans were developed. The building committee preferred the proposal to construct a new City Hall and parking structure on the existing site. Concerned that the Main Street facade has sentimental value for the public, the Mayor requested that the front of the existing building be preserved.
Despite concerns noted in the study, completed in 2003, about overloading of the roof trusses and a recommendation to replace slate shingles with a lighter weight metal roofing, no action was taken to remedy the deficient condition. In 2012, some roof trusses finally failed and required emergency short-term repairs as the City was forced to look for alternative temporary space for their municipal offices. Relocation was a complex task that had to be completed within a very tight time frame. A space program was developed, space plans and furniture layouts were designed, and bid documents were prepared in record time.