Hopes to open the Scituate Harbor Community Building to the public by December have fallen by the wayside, with ongoing construction work delaying the target over a month.
Problems have been a mix of contractor and product availability as well as bidding delays, according to Scitiate's facilities manager, Kevin Kelly.
“It’s open [to town groups], but the upgrades weren’t completed and new rental policies aren’t in place or activated. But I’d estimate that we’re a few weeks away from that,” Kelly said.
In November, Kelly told Selectmen he hoped most building repairs could be completed by the end of the month. Other work was to be finished by Dec. 14.
Yet work has continued in mid-January in the building’s kitchen. Installation of a new rug was held off due to roof leaks. The New Year nor'easter added to the work.
Even though half the roof was replaced in mid-November, some leaks reappeared in the back half of the building. Water came in doors as well, damaging the carpet.
Kelly said he was disappointed, but not surprised to see that even some new sections of the roof were problematic, as the roof has equipment sitting on it that make it difficult to weatherize.
Though a new carpet will be installed in the next few weeks, problems are likely to reoccur, Kelly said. A more resilient flooring option would likely be too expensive and wasn’t discussed, he said.
“It’s not a new building, it’s right on the ocean. I would anticipate that there is always the possibility of problems to happen to the building,” Kelly said “…We’ve done everything right to make repairs and do things. But it’s a building that does need and will continue to need attention.”
Kelly said town groups have continued to use the space despite the ongoing work, moving to different rooms to avoid construction.
While town officials adopted a use policy for the building in December, the town is still seeking a management firm to handle reservations for the general public. Bids have come in, but a contract hasn’t been signed, Kelly said.
“Once we get open and running and have reservations in, the policy accepted and in place, then the space will be open for use for other people in the town,” Kelly said.
The updates are part of bigger plans for the facility, which was purchased with $1.8 million in MBTA mitigation funds in 2010.
At Scituate Town Meeting in early November, town officials said they were looking into changing the use restrictions on the property, part of a purchase agreement in using MBTA mitigation money for the purchase.
Selectmen are also in the process of investigating a long-term plan to turn the building into a permanent community building.
The Town has been working with a Pier 44 Feasibility Study Committee since November 2010 to look at potential uses of the building. The Committee presented its findings to the Board in early 2012, but board members tabled further discussion on a direction in 2013 until a facilities master plan could be created.