Council votes to spend $670,000 more to restore damaged Comer Auditorium

Columbus Council voted today to spend $670,000 more than originally estimated to repair and restore the old Comer Auditorium in Bibb City, which was heavily damaged in a storm last year.

Original estimates were that it would require about $1.33 million to bring the Comer back to usable condition. But initial demolition uncovered some problems that caused the price to go up to just over $2 million, Deputy City Manager David Arrington told councilors Tuesday.

The facility’s front wall will need to be rebuilt and the mechanical and electrical systems will need to be replaced, Arrington said. The building also needs roof work, improved drainage, repair to pre-existing water damage and a void that was discovered under the gym floor will need to be uncovered and filled in.

The city’s insurance will pay about $830,000, and the original idea was for the city to add in $500,000 from the Fiscal Year 2012 Local Option Sales Tax infrastructure fund.

The new problems will require the city to put in $1.17 million in LOST funds this year and almost $500,000 in LOST funds next fiscal year, bringing the final tab to just over $2 million, Arrington said.

Those repairs would make the building operational and allow the public to use it, Arrington said. But some other issues will have to be dealt with in the fiscal 2014 and 2015 budgets.