GETTING A MAKEOVER: Little Rock city directors haven't been in their chambers for years. Brian Chilson

The boardroom at Little Rock City Hall is in the middle of getting a makeover.

Replacing an HVAC system, cleaning brick walls, preserving original tile floors and installing crown molding to closely match an existing design in the Little Rock Board of Directors chambers at City Hall will cost an additional $315,340, according to a resolution the board passed at a Tuesday meeting.

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City officials have not been meeting in their usual chambers since COVID-19 pandemic protocols called for social distancing. For more than three years now, the board has gathered at the Centre at University of Park on 12th Street. The room they meet in is large, and it is meant to be a public use space, not a boardroom.

The funds approved Tuesday amended a previous construction contract the group approved in March totaling $322,622. Tuesday’s vote increased the contract with HYDCO to $637,962. The group had also previously approved $173,000 for new technology as part of the renovation.

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City officials were expected to get back in their chambers over the summer, but the discovery of HVAC issues and asbestos delayed the renovation. 

“During the early phase of the demolition process, asbestos was discovered in the tile floor that had been covered many years ago by carpeting,” according to a city document. “Once the tile was removed, the original ceramic tile flooring was discovered and in an effort to preserve the historic integrity of the structure, it was determined that the tile needed to be cleaned and repaired.”

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The current HVAC system is inadequate for the parts of City Hall it services, a city document stated. If it is not replaced, the “comfort and indoor air quality for the new boardroom will be inadequate, especially during peak seasons.”

Together, the approved cost for the renovation now totals more than $810,000

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