Armory restoration begins this month

The Coombs Armory being tented for a termite treatment. Photo available for purchase

The Coombs Armory being tented for a termite treatment.

Lois Swoboda
Published: Wednesday, April 2, 2014 at 02:54 PM.

On March 4, county commissioners unanimously approved Phase 1, at an estimated cost of roughly $700,000, of a plan to refurbish the Fort Coombs Armory as a convention center.

In April 2009, the county leased the Armory from the state for 50 years at a cost of $300 per year. Although military operations in the building ceased more than a decade ago, the building has served as a venue for weddings, reunions, dances and more for decades.

Based on a timeline presented by architect Warren Emo, the next phase of work will begin in October and construction should be completed by March 2015.

 Under instructions from county commissioners given Feb. 18, Emo identified the most urgently needed repairs to the Armory as mitigating drainage problems undermining the building’s foundation, treating active termite infestations; constructing new, updated bathrooms and installing heating and air conditioning equipment (HVAC).

 “The configuration is the same. We’re just scaling the work back and phasing it,” Emo told commissioners after presenting them with updated drawings,

Cost of the proposed improvements, without the termite treatment, is estimated at $659,244. Emo said the construction can be coordinated with scheduled activities and will not disrupt regular use of the building.

The termite treatment, to be performed by Florida Pest Control of Gainesville, will cost $22,162. Florida Pest Control is donating chemicals for the treatment, totaling $5,200.

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