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September 8, 2013

Atkinson Community Center repairs delayed

ATKINSON — Town officials had hoped to get the floor of the community center repaired and the room reopened by the end of the summer. But a contract problem has pushed the project back.

The town accepted a bid from Hansen and Sons Construction for $45,700 to replace the floor. Last week, the contractor told the town he could not do it until next spring. On Monday, selectmen voted to rescind the RFP and sent out a new one.

“The next highest bid was $22,000 more than this one,” Town Administrator Bill Innes said. “Selectmen chose to void that bid.”

Innes said he hopes they will be able to get a new contractor at around the same price — but timing matters, too.

“This needs to be a quick start,” he said. “We’re expecting this to be started in seven days.”

The function room in the community center has been closed since May, after a structural engineer deemed the floor unsafe. The town explored building a new facility, before deciding to fix to the floor.

In addition, the town is looking to repair the roof and replace the oil burner.

Since May, several locations have hosted activities that were scheduled to be held at the community center.

“It’s been great,” Innes said. “The response from public and private facilities has been pleasing.”

Kimball Library, Atkinson Congregational Church, Atkinson Academy and Bryant Woods are among the places that offered to host stranded groups’ functions.

But some in the community are frustrated with the amount of time it’s been closed.

“This is one of the most important parts the Atkinson community,” said Betty Missert, 77. “There are weddings, meetings, fitness classes. It can hold up to 100 people. I think the selectmen have been dragging their feet a little bit.”

Innes said the bids for the project are due in mid-September.

“This is critically important,” he said. “The town depends on this building. Residents depend on this building. It’s busy from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day.”

If all goes according to plan, Innes said, the repairs will take four to six weeks and the building will be open by the end of October.

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