Work started this week on construction of the new Havelock city hall building.
An official ground-breaking is scheduled for 1 p.m. Friday when city officials, architects, contractors and others will ceremonially turn over dirt for the project.
“I think it’s something that the people of Havelock will be very proud of,” said former mayor Jimmy Sanders, who worked with commissioners to get the project funded. “It’s a great design and I’m glad that I had a part in it.”
The 9,295 square-foot building is being paid for by a $1.7 million loan and a $100,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development.
The building, designed by Oakley Collier Architects of Rocky Mount, incorporates room for most department heads in the city plus a commissioners meeting room that will double as a courtroom.
The general contractor, Marand Builders Inc., of Charlotte, won the bid to construct the building over 11 other bidders in August.
Havelock, along with USDA and the architects, issued a notice to proceed to the contractor to begin work last week.
Site work started as an old pumping station had to be removed in preparation for the new building.
The new structure will be built between the existing city hall and Cunningham Boulevard. The site encompasses the existing employee parking lot.
During construction, parking will be restricted to the current city hall parking lot.
Havelock employees will continue to work in the existing city hall until the new structure is complete. At that time, the employees will move into the new structure and the old one will be demolished.
Parts of the existing city hall are more than 70 years old.
“The people that haven’t been in the building and worked in the building know that it appears to be in good shape from the outside but the building is not in good shape as it would appear,” Sanders said.
City commissioners originally considered renovating the old building, but in the end, voted for the new construction.
“That would have been spending good money after bad,” Sanders said of the proposed renovation. “It was just simply not worth the expense.”
Sanders said U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield deserves a lot of credit for helping the city get the loan and grant from USDA to finance the project.
The new building is expected to be completed in nine months.