Porterdale looks for input on gym

Photo by Howard Reed

Photo by Howard Reed

PORTERDALE -- Members of the City Council are looking for input from contractors on a project to stabilize and put a new roof on Porter Memorial Gymnasium.

Representatives from the architectural firm selected to oversee restoration of the burned out gym met with City Council members last month to update the council and discuss putting the first phase of construction on the project out for bid.

Principal Janice Wittschiebe and project manager Tanya Richard of the Atlanta firm of Richard Wittschiebe Hand said the projected cost of stabilizing the gym and replacing the roof using steel construction came in at just over $1 million.

Councilwoman Linda Finger said she felt a local contractor might be able to do the work at a lower cost. After some discussion, the council decided to make the construction plans and drawings for stabilization and roofing of the gym available to contractors for their comments and review before the project is put out to bid. The plans are available at Porterdale City Hall, 2400 Main St., Porterdale.

Restoration plans for the gym call for it to retain its original exterior appearance. Inside, plans include a central basketball court and seating, a walking track, an exercise/weight room, arts and crafts rooms, a community meeting room and more. The gym layout encompasses more than 24,000 square feet. The total cost of reconstruction was estimated in 2009 at $2.7 million.

Porter Memorial Gym, a centerpiece of the town of Porterdale, was gutted by an October 2005 fire that left the gym's exterior brick walls standing, but nothing remaining of the interior. The gym was built as a gift to the city from Oliver and Julia Porter, the owners of Bibb Manufacturing Company. The facility was built with wood floors and wood bleachers that could seat as many as 5,000 people. The structure was vacant and in need of repair at the time of the blaze.