Additional renovations will have to be performed before members of the Little Rock Board of Directors can return to the City Hall boardroom in the wake of the covid-19 pandemic.
A new heating, ventilation and air conditioning, or HVAC, system is not expected to be installed until sometime next year.
During a meeting today, city board members will be asked to approve a resolution authorizing an increase to a previously agreed upon contract amount tied to the renovations.
The proposed resolution before the city board would allow the city manager to execute an amendment to increase the contract amount from approximately $323,000 to $638,000.
At the start of the pandemic in 2020, Little Rock elected officials decamped from the boardroom.
Meetings mostly took place at the Robinson Center through the first half of 2021. Since then, the city board has held meetings at the Centre at University Park, a community center located at 6401 W. 12th St.
Last March, city board members voted to authorize a contract with HYDCO, Inc. for the firm to carry out a redesign plan that architects at Lockeby & Associates, Inc developed. The work began in late April.
"During the early phase of the demolition process, asbestos was discovered in the tile floor that had been covered many years ago by carpeting," a memo included with meeting materials for today says. "Once the tile was removed, the original ceramic tile flooring was discovered, and in an effort to preserve the historic integrity of the structure, it was determined that the tile needed to be cleaned and repaired."
Plaster on the boardroom's east and south walls has been removed, and "the original brick has been cleaned and sealed," the memo says. "Crown molding will be installed to closely match the original design that was in the room.
The increased contract amount also will pay for a new HVAC system to replace the one that serves the boardroom.
The boardroom has an HVAC system independent from the one that serves City Hall's second and third floors, but "it too is poorly designed for conditioning the space and is operating beyond its serviceable life," the memo says.
The boardroom's existing HVAC system is not large enough to condition the occupied boardroom, not to mention the additional load from the east-facing windows that were included in the redesign, according to the memo.
Going without a new system means that "comfort and indoor air quality" inside the new boardroom "will be inadequate, especially during peak seasons," the memo says.
The new HVAC system for the boardroom is expected to arrive around midspring, based on the manufacturer's lead time, Little Rock City Clerk Susan Langley said via email.