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Council OKs Nederland building renovations

Bob Henson slated for roof repair; new Service Center to roll out in phases

NEDERLAND — The city is looking for contractors to address a decade-long grievance at the Nederland Service Center and provide a roof that actually functions for the D. Bob Henson Building.

Nederland City Manager Chris Duque said the two projects — which opened for bids following a City Council vote Monday evening — will serve a vital role in providing updated city facilities that are functional for the employees that work there and the residents in need of service.

“These are both projects we’ve been planning for quite some time, and while the cost of these projects is minimal in comparison to building a new City Hall or the Homer E. Nagel Public Safety Complex, that doesn’t mean either of these projects are less important,” Duque said at the City Council meeting Monday night. “Our Service Center addition, especially, has been in the works for a long time, and we’re happy to be at the point now where we can give our employees and our citizens a functional facility.”

Duque said the Nederland Service Center project is labeled as an addition, but by the end of the two phases — split up over a period, hopefully, not to exceed three to four years — the Public Works Department will have an entirely new facility.

“This project has been discussed for at least 10 years,” he said. “Right now, when we service our solid waste vehicles, we have to do it out in the open. The height of our existing building doesn’t allow us to bring the trucks inside.

“On top of that, that building has major roof issues. That roof took extensive damage during both hurricanes. Simply speaking, the building we have now is not functional anymore. It served its purpose, but now it’s time to build a brand new city shop. But due to budgetary constrictions, we’re going to break it up into two phases.”

Duque said Phase 1 — what City Council opened for bids Monday night — consists of a new metal building to serve as the actual Service Center, as well as the underground and slab work for Phase 2.

“Phase 1 will create a much more usable building for our Public Works Department, and then Phase 2 will replace the existing offices, locker room and break area,” he said. “We involved the Public Works supervisors extensively in the design process, and they know exactly what they need in a new building.

“They’ve helped us come up with a very straightforward design. The building doesn’t come with any frills — it’s all about function and serving the needs of that department.”

Duque said he hopes to have the first phase complete in spring 2016 and begin the second phase within the next three to four years.

Duque said the D. Bob Henson Building is a true repair job, with changing the existing flat roof to a pitched roof taking first priority.

“The Bob Henson Building was originally built in the 1960s, and we end up talking about roof issues — it seems — every few years,” he said. “We’ve repaired it and repaired it, but it keeps leaking. So we’re moving away from the flat roof and giving it a slope. As a second priority, we’re looking to complete some minor interior renovations to move some our staff around.
“Originally, this building served as the library. Then it was remodeled and renovated for the Inspections Department, Code Enforcement, Public Works and the Nederland Economic Development Corporation. Since the EDC moved into its own building on Boston Avenue, one-half of the Bob Henson building has been unoccupied.”

Duque said if there are funds left over after the roof is repaired, the interior will be renovated to allow the Inspections Department to move into the old EDC offices and a payments will be installed for visitors’ convenience.

Duque said both projects have funds already allocated in the city’s capital outlay budget. Neches Engineers designed the renovations for the Bob Henson Building, and the LaBiche Architectural Group, Inc. designed the new Service Center.

For more information, call the City Manager’s Office at (409) 723-1503.

Email: chelsea.henderson@panews.com

Twitter: @crhenderson90