SOUTHWEST HARBOR — Selectmen last week set a cap of $80,000 for repairing the roof at the Old Yellow Schoolhouse Building leased from the town by Harbor House Community Service Center.
The board voted unanimously May 9 to move ahead with repairing the roof of the century-old structure on Main Street.
Harbor House leases the building for $1 annually. The structural issue surfaced in February of last year after the town’s insurance carrier, concerned about a sag in the roof found during an inspection, raised the deductible on the policy from $1,000 to $10,000. That action prompted town officials to look into the problem.
The civil engineering firm G.F. Johnston and Associates studied the roof and determined the collar ties are installed improperly, overstressing the rafters and causing them to sag and push out the top section of the walls.
According to Town Manager Don Lagrange, the expected cost of the project was to be closer to $60,000, not including the $8,000 engineering cost. Although 12 contractors expressed interest in bidding on the project, only one, Associated Builders of Ellsworth, submitted a bid. The company bid $72,800 for the work.
Lagrange said discussions are underway with Associated Builders to begin the work as soon as possible. The “target date” for completion, he said, is October.
Selectmen by consensus also took the first step to replacing the aging Highway Department garage on the Seal Cove Road. Here, too, the driving force behind the move is the town’s insurance carrier.
“The insurance company is encouraging us to get rid of the building,” Lagrange said, acknowledging that the structure is in rough shape.
Selectmen agreed to have Lagrange act as the general contractor for the project as a cost-saving measure. Lagrange is to solicit bids for various stages of construction and oversee the work of the successful bidders.
As of now, plans call for demolition of the existing building and construction of a 64-by-112-foot wood-frame building on a concrete slab. The new building would be about 3,000 square feet larger than the existing structure.
Voters at the annual town meeting earlier this month approved $60,000 for the project, which will join funds already set aside for construction. Lagrange said there currently is more than $240,000 available for the project, which is expected to cost $250,000 at most.
Along with storing the Highway Department’s equipment, the new building would have a service bay for vehicles and an office area. If there is enough money, three bays for school buses also would be included, Lagrange said.
Like the Harbor House roof replacement, the highway garage is on the fast track.
“I’m shooting for construction to begin in July if the concrete guys can make it,” Lagrange said.