Chapel Hill flood repairs, mold removal, to take time, money

tgrubb@newsobserver.comJuly 31, 2013 

FLOODFOLO2-CHN-070113-HLL

Chapel Hill town employees dodge ventilation fans and dehydrators as they carry an office chair along a damp first floor hallway to a drier area upstairs at Chapel Hill Town Hall Monday morning, July 1.

HARRY LYNCH — hlynch@newsobserver.com Buy Photo

— It will take nearly $500,000 and up to a year to get Chapel Hill Town Hall ready for business again, officials said Wednesday.

The town also will renovate the Airport Gardens just north of Town Hall on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

The public housing complex flooded in the June 30 downpour that inundated southern Orange County and damaged 18 of the complex’s 26 apartments.

Workers removed the soggy drywall within days but found mold growing on the walls that could take another month to remove.

Affected residents have been provided with hotel rooms. Some chose to stay with family or friends or returned home before the work was complete.

Housing director Tina Vaughn said they won’t know how much the work will cost until next week. What insurance doesn’t cover, the housing department will have to pay, she said.

When residents return, they also will need help replacing damaged furniture and other items, she said.

“We are preparing a report on the causes of this flooding in both Town Hall and Airport Gardens so we can make improvements to avoid this situation in the future,” Town Manager Roger Stancil said.

Council chambers get update

The floodwaters that filled the first floor of Town Hall forced workers to remove all the furniture, carpet and the bottom 2 feet of drywall, officials said. The water also damaged the council dais.

The estimated cost of cleaning up the 42-year-old building could exceed $400,000, they said.

Insurance will pay part of the cost, and the rest could be paid for out of the town’s savings or money set aside for other projects.

The project could take from six months to a year, because town officials are using the opportunity to complete a planned renovation of the council chambers.

“Due to the extensive nature of the demolition, it was decided to reconsider the layout design of the business management services area to improve customer service and improve the efficiency of the space,” said Ken Pennoyer, director of business management services.

Town services relocated

The Town Hall work will affect these services:

• Revenue collection: A temporary payment window is on the second floor of Town Hall. Revenue collection services are expected to move to University Square, 123 W. Franklin St., in late August. People paying rent for public housing facilities or tax payments should come to this location or pay by mail to the Town of Chapel Hill, 405 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Chapel Hill, NC 27514. Permit payments made by credit card or check may be taken on the third floor of Town Hall.

• Council meetings and board/commission meetings: Meetings of the Town Council could move to the Orange County Southern Human Services Center at 2501 Homestead Drive, and meetings of boards and commissions will move to other locations including the Chapel Hill Public Library at 100 Library Drive.

•  Internal services: Town staff should continue to come to Town Hall for payroll services, which are temporarily located in the Second Floor Training Room. Information Technology staff are at various locations, and may be reached by internal users via 969-2020 or ITSupport@townofchapelhill.org.

Grubb: 919-932-8746

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