SARATOGA SPRINGS — It could be months before City Hall is ready to reopen after an Aug. 17 lightning strike that caused water and fire damage to the building.
Mayor Meg Kelly said the priority is to reopen the first floor to get city employees back in their respective departments.
“Flooring and ceiling have to be ripped out and replaced, and air quality tests have to be done,” she said. “There’s no timeline for when this would all take place.”
Commissioner of Public Works Anthony “Skip” Scirocco said it would likely be a long process.
“Since no one is in City Hall right now, the process will be expedited,” he said, citing the fact that contractors won’t have to work around city employees. “We’re months away from [moving back in.]”
City employees have been moved to different facilities across the city.
The mayor’s office, administrative and business offices for the Finance, Accounts and Public Works departments, planning and building departments, city clerk, tax collection and receivables, utilities, parking tickets, engineering, licensing and vital records, assessments and Civil Service are located at the Recreation Center at 15 Vanderbilt Ave.
Police command personnel, legal staff, and commissioners and deputy commissioners of Finance and Public Safety are located at The Mill at 125 High Rock Ave.
Code enforcement, Public Safety administrative offices and the Risk and Safety office are located at the Lake Avenue Fire Station, at 60 Lake Ave.
The Saratoga Springs Police Department is continuing its operations at 5 Lake Ave.
“It’s been a great experience for employees, because everyone is working together and getting to know each other now that they’re not stuck in their offices,” Kelly said. “We’re operating on a 30-day Emergency Management Plan and we’re lucky to have a plan in place.”
Scirocco said he anticipated most of the repair costs would be covered by insurance.
“The cost will likely be in the millions,” he said. “Thankfully, nothing of historical value was damaged. We’re waiting to see what the number will be.”
Scirocco added that the city is looking to hire its own claims adjuster.
City Hall was designed by architects Cummings and Burt Associates at a cost of $109,999.46 and opened on Dec. 28, 1871, according to the city’s website.
Saratoga Springs Fire Chief Robert Williams said lightning struck a metal portion of the roof of the Broadway building, melting a PVC pipe, allowing water to pour into the third floor.
Williams said the majority of the damage was to the dance hall, the police administration office, public safety codes room, the main office of the DPW and part of the City Council’s chambers.
Kelly said a majority of City Council and land use board meetings will take place at the Saratoga City Center, 522 Broadway, until City Hall reopens.
“We hope to be in soon, but we have a lot of work to do,” she said. “Right now, we’re taking it day by day.”