City Council President Dennis Eaniri said the broken City Hall elevator should finally be fixed in late December or January.
BROCKTON – The return of a functioning City Hall elevator couldn’t come soon enough for some Brockton City Council members.
The elevator at Brockton City Hall has been out of order for about a year. That meant that the inauguration ceremony last January had to be held away from City Hall for the first time ever. It also forced the 11-member City Council, along with its commissions, to hold meetings elsewhere, while other city boards conducted public meetings in the hallway on the ground floor of City Hall.
City Council President Dennis Eaniri said the city’s Building Department now has the elevator replacement project on track to be completed by the second week of January. Eaniri spoke about the issue at the recent meeting at the Campello Business Association, noting that the busted elevator meant that freshmen members of City Council, including Councilor At-large Jean Bradley Derenoncourt and Ward 4 City Council Susan Nicastro, have never been able to take their rightful seats in Council Chambers on the third level at City Hall.
“The disappointing factor for councilors, and especially Susan Nicastro and Jean Bradley Derenoncourt, is they haven’t had a chance to sit in their seats in chambers,” Eaniri said. “We’ve been known as the traveling council this past year because we’re here, there and everywhere.”
Brockton Superintendent of Buildings James Casieri said the project is coming along well, and he’s hoping to have it completed by mid-January. The work is being done by Contractors Network, Inc., as the general contractor, and Embree Elevator, according to Casieri.
“It’s progressing nicely. They are here working everyday,” Casieri said. “It’s going to be a brand new, state-of-the-art elevator. It’s going to be beautiful to look at it. It’s going to be a lot faster and energy efficient. I anticipate they won’t have to worry about replacing it for another 40 years.”
Casieri said the elevator replacement project has been a lengthy job because it’s a custom made elevator, manufactured specifically to fit the tight elevator shaft at the historic Brockton City Hall building.
“There wasn’t an elevator like this sitting on the shelf somewhere,” Casieri said. “It had to be manufactured specifically for this. Before the elevator company showed up, they were having all the parts manufactured that would retrofit this elevator. It’s complicated.”
The project is expected to cost around $450,000, Casieri said.
As part of the project, the elevator is being made slightly more handicap accessible, with doorway openings that now meet the wheelchair standard of 32 inches.
“The doorway openings are going to be bigger to become handicap accessible,” Casieri said.
While the project has been lengthy and complicated from the start, repairs to the elevator shaft that went beyond the original plans were uncovered recently when workers were able to access the brick elevator shaft, discovering masonry work that needed to be done, Casieri said.
“Some of that was unanticipated,” Casieri said. “It was undetectable until we got the old elevator out of there.”
Casieri said the more than one-year period without a functioning elevator at City Hall isn’t because the elevator broke. But rather, as Casieri sees it, the elevator was always going to reach its life expectancy, inevitably leading to the painstaking, lengthy work of repairing the historic elevator.
“Nobody wanted to put a new elevator in until it expired because it’s a hard thing to do,” Casieri said. “No one was willing to tackle it. But it was the right thing to do now. We got as long as we could out of it.”