Work crew to arrive at Opera House Monday

March 23, 2013

“We are mobilizing to the job site Monday morning.”

“We” is a construction crew headed by Bill Scott of the Scott Tucker Construction Co. The “job site” is the Granbury Opera House, which has sat empty for well over a year now as the renovation project stalled.

Scott told the Granbury City Council at its regular meeting Tuesday night that the project, which he became involved in a few months ago, is now “moving forward rapidly on several fronts.”

One of the first things that will be done next week is to stabilize the roof so that when the back wall of the building is taken out, it won’t create a wind tunnel that could result in damage to the historic building.

At the council meeting a couple of weeks ago, Scott and City Manager Wayne McKethan said that the cost to fix the unstable roof might be in the $10,000 range, though they did not quote a solid figure.

Tuesday night, Scott said it will cost $31,581. Council member Tony Allen expressed concern over the price tag that was $20,000 higher than the estimated figure from two weeks ago.

However, on Wednesday McKethan said that there will be savings in the second phase of construction that will “offset” the cost of the work needed on the roof.

Scott told the council that he should be able to present a maximum price for the project within about five weeks.

Initially, the contract the city had with the company was for $2.3 million, but the plans were changed. Certain elements, such as an orchestra pit, were added. The price tag is now expected to be around $3 million.

Allen questioned Scott for several minutes about costs and time frames.

“We wasted 150,000 bucks on a plan that wasn’t no good,” he said, referring to previous leadership on the project.

“You think you’re frustrated. I voted to buy the St. Helen’s building,” council member Laurel Pirkle retorted.

He was referring to a large, community-driven effort to expand the historic theater by acquiring the building next door. Some believe that, had the council gone that route, the Opera House would be open for business today. However, a majority of the council voted instead to stick with the theater’s current footprint.

Scott and McKethan said that more drawings will be done and then work will go out for bid. The bid process will take about two weeks.

The interior of the Opera House has already been gutted by city crews to speed up the process for the Scott Tucker firm. “If we hadn’t done that,” said McKethan, “it would have taken him another three or four weeks.”

City officials were so pleased that construction crews will be on site Monday that they have asked Communications Director Shanna Smith to arrange a groundbreaking ceremony and photo op.

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