Roofs needed for city buildings

Published 11:00 am Wednesday, July 30, 2014

New roofs totaling $700,000 for the Vicksburg Convention Center and the City Park pavilion are among the capital projects listed in the proposed budgets for the convention center and the city’s building maintenance department.

“We have needs, not wants,” convention center executive director Annette Kirklin told the Board of Mayor and Aldermen Tuesday.

“We need to have our roof replaced,” she said.

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Estimated at $350,000, a new roof for the 17-year-old convention center has been requested for at least the past four years by previous center directors and denied, with previous boards approving repairs to the roof, which was installed with the convention center was built.

The roof was the most expensive item on Kirklin’s list, which also included a new lighting control system estimated at $109,000; replacing 150 broken stage pieces, $59,850; retractable seating, $40,000; and one piece of equipment, a Blue Lift Genie, $67,000. One item not listed was replacing the convention center’s windows, estimated at $40,000.

“Those windows are vacuum sealed and the seals are busted,” city building maintenance supervisor Sammie Rainey said, adding the windows were installed when the center was built. “They’re getting dust and dirt in the windows and you can’t clean them.”

“We’re constantly having people ask us, ‘why don’t you clean your windows?’” said Erin Southard, convention center events and operations manager.

Kirklin said the center’s lighting control system, which was also installed when the center was built, is also past its prime.

“Technology-wise, it needs to be replaced,” she said.

“We are trying to sell that building (as a venue) to the public, to meeting planners, to people coming in who have shows,” she said, adding that a program for meeting planners held in conjunction with the July 24 “Ritz on the River” program resulted in four new events for the center.

Mayor George Flaggs said the items like the roof and the lighting system needed to be part of a capital improvements program.

“When we float a bond issue for capital improvements, we need to include money for the convention center,” he said. “We have to tell the public that this is a 17-year-old building. The city ought to make the commitment.”

The convention center roof wasn’t the only high priced roof presented to the board. Rainey said the metal roof covering the pavilion also carried a $350,000 price tag, causing the board to wonder whether the city needed to take the pavilion down and build a new, smaller structure.

The City Park pavilion is a popular place for parties, barbecues and other events. “I’ve seen that place jam-packed,” North Ward Alderman Michael Mayfield said.

“You got to realize how big that place is,” Rainey told the board. “If you’re going to take it down, it might cost you twice as much to do that.”

South Ward Alderman Willis Thompson said he wanted to examine the costs of replacing the roof and replacing the structure, or possibly expanding it.”

“You can look at it, but the way it’s built and the way it sits, you can’t go farther with it,” Rainey said.

“I’d like to see us expand it to the north gate,” Mayfield said. “We could pour the slab in-house. We need to look at that.”

Besides the pavilion roof, Rainey said the city needs another roof replacement at the water and gas administration building on Drummond Street, and to build three offices for the community service department.

Also needed, he said, were new fire alarm systems for City Hall and the community development building at the old Carnegie Library building on South Street, totaling $70,000, and a new system for the City Hall Annex at $18,000.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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