History Museum Repairs Delayed

On December 26, it will have been five months since the ceiling collapsed at the Marion Natural History Museum.  The accident, which happened in the middle of the night, left no one injured but damaged a significant portion of the interior of the museum.

Since then, the Town of Marion had been in the process of accepting bids for the required repairs.  Only two bids were offered, one for about $34,000 and one for $96,000.  The town opted for the former bid, put out by Dimitrios C. Contracting, but the project recently hit a snag when it became apparent that the estimate would not cover all the work.

“Within his price bid, he did not include the carpeting, which is clearly called out for in the plans,” said Marion Town Administrator Paul Dawson.

The carpeting in the museum had to be stripped due to the amount of plaster dust that remained after the main clean up of the room was completed.

Dawson also said he was not completely sure what the contractor’s next move would be, as Dawson has been unable to get in contact with the company.

“Most likely, he’s going to have to withdraw his bid.  Then we’d have to start over and get rebids,” said Charlie Van Voorhis, who’s architectural firm devised the repair plan.

Dimitrios C. Contracting was unable to be reached for comment for this story.

Museum Director, Elizabeth Leidhold, is frustrated that the progress on repairs has been so protracted.

“We’ve been waiting for months to finally see the project move forward and to come so close and have it sidetracked at this late date is very difficult,” she said.  “We have provided after-school programming and education for adults for decades.”

Once the repairs are underway, Van Voorhis estimated it would take six to eight weeks for completion.  For Leidhold, that’s cutting things a bit close.

“I just hope we can get things rolling in 2013 in time to open for the spring,” she said.

By Eric Tripoli

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