The century-old windows of The Clayton Center are letting in more than a draft – they’re crumbling entirely.
In response, the Clayton Town Council is moving forward with a plan to replace all of the windows in the auditorium building over the next six months. Window replacement in the town hall building will come later.
The low bid for 61 windows came in at $344,468, or nearly $5,650 a window, significantly more than the budgeted $249,000. To make up the difference, Town Manager Steve Biggs told the council it could use $30,000 allocated for building maintenance, $50,000 in health-insurance savings and $15,468 from cash reserves. The insurance savings should come from switching to the state health plan.
“There’s a short window of time to get this done before the Clayton Center begins its events,” Biggs told the Council.
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The intent had been to replace all of The Clayton Center’s windows at once in an effort to save money. But when the council bid that work, the lowest offer was more than $450,000. At that point, the council regrouped, agreeing to seek bods only on the auditorium building.
That delay in moving forward made the work too much to finish before The Clayton Center’s summer events. The town is still trying to figure out how long the work will take.
“We hoped back in November to move ahead with the project, but the bid came back significantly more than we budgeted,” Biggs said. “No doubt there would be savings by doing it in a single mobilization; we’d prefer to do it in one single effort. But at this point in time, we have to avoid interfering with the other things going on at The Clayton Center.”
The condition of the windows is one of the main drivers of the town splitting the job into two parts. Entire portions of windows on the second and third stories of the auditorium wing have rotted away. Biggs said replacing those windows couldn’t wait another year.
The council awarded the contract to Muter Construction of Zebulon. Town officials hope they can lower the cost to taxpayers by appealing to Caterpillar for donations of equipment or cash.
While the wood is rotting away, panes of intact, historic glass will be left. Mayor Jody McLeod said he wanted to save the glass for use, possibly, in a public art project.
Drew Jackson: 919-553-7234, Ext. 104; @jdjackson