Wednesday, February 28, 2024

New Hanover County Historic Courthouse ready for repairs eight months after Florence

Florence took its toll on the New Hanover County Historic Courthouse. Now, eight months after the storm the county is ready to have repairs made.

The New Hanover County Commissioners will meet Monday at the Historic Courthouse Downtown Wilmington Port City Daily photo/COURTESY NHC)
]The historic courthouse in downtown Wilmington suffered heavy damage to its roof from Hurricane Florence. (Port City Daily photo / Courtesy New Hanover County).

WILMINGTON — The New Hanover County Historic Courthouse in Downtown Wilmington is an icon of the city and has stood the test of time. But the historic building, like many others in the area, did not go through Hurricane Florence unscathed.

More than eight months after the storm hit and as the region braces itself for the 2019 Atlantic Hurricane Season, New Hanover County is ready to issue a contract to make repairs on the historic landmark.

It took some time for the county to get the ball rolling, but in April, a request for bids was issued and now county leaders are preparing to vote on awarding a nearly half-million dollar contract to fix the damages.

According to county documents, “Part of the roof was peeled off allowing water intrusion. After the building was cleaned up and secured further damage plans were developed to repair the damages done by the hurricane. The scope includes roof replacement, plaster repairs, painting, carpet, ceiling tiles, and insulation in the attic.”

Three contractors issued bids to the county for the repairs, according to County Manager Chris Coudriet, with the lowest bidder coming in at $446,523, fortunately for the county, there will likely be some reimbursement from FEMA as well as insurance money.

“Not all of this contract amount will be reimbursed by FEMA. Only costs related to repairs of storm damage would be eligible for reimbursement from FEMA. The total amount of the contract is $446,523, the majority being for repairs needed because of damage from Hurricane Florence. The contract also includes some projects that address other repairs in the courthouse that may not be a direct result of the storm, but are needed and could be addressed at the same time as other storm-related projects,” Kate Oelslager, New Hanover County spokeswoman said.

Despite some time having passed since Florence, Oelslager said damages have not been exacerbated thanks to a fast response to initial damages.

“We had a team at the courthouse during Hurricane Florence who responded as damage occurred and was able to prevent further damage because of their quick work. We immediately began remediation repairs (cutting carpet, drying out the building and shrink wrapping the roof), that has sustained the condition of the building since the storm. The time from remediation repairs to permanent repairs included putting out a Request for Qualification for professional services to draw up repair plans and estimates in order to then put out the bid,” she said.

The County Commissioners will vote on approving the repairs at their upcoming meeting.

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