BANGOR, Maine — Renovations to the Margaret Chase Smith Federal Building are scheduled to begin next month and could employ up to 300 workers, according to the General Services Administration.
The estimated cost of construction is $33.88 million. The rest of the estimated $53 million in stimulus money set aside for the project would be used for design services for the building, a spokeswoman for the General Services Administration said Monday
Construction is expected to take three years and three months, according to Cathy Menzies, public affairs specialist for the GSA’s regional office in Boston. The agency oversees federally owned and operated property.
Any unused money allocated for the project would not stay in Maine but would be returned to the GSA’s Central Office in Washington, D.C., for redistribution to other projects funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Menzies said Friday in an e-mail.
Plans call for much of the Social Security Administration office, now on the second floor, to be relocated to the first floor where the Bangor post office was located. The post office was moved over the Memorial Day weekend to a temporary location in the Broadway Shopping Center. The U.S. Postal Service is expected to move this fall to its new permanent home in the former Bangor District Courthouse.
Renovations to the federal building also include reducing the number of public entrances from two to one. Details of how that new entrance will be configured were not available Monday.
Upgrades to improve energy efficiency will reduce water consumption by 40 percent and energy use by 30 percent, according to Menzies. A geothermal heating and cooling system will be installed along with advanced heating, cooling and lighting controls.
In addition, the building will be made compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act, according to Menzies. Renovations to public restrooms, the front plaza slope and the proper placement of elevator controls and door hardware are planned to meet the required regulations.
Work on the project will begin with mechanical and electrical work throughout the building, according to the GSA. No tenant will be required to relocate while the work is being done, but some temporary space on the first floor will be used to temporarily relocate some tenants during the renovations.
Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins have offices in the building. Both said Monday the project would provide needed jobs for Mainers and save taxpayer dollars in the long run by improving the energy efficiency of the building.
“This funding will not only help put Mainers back to work in the Bangor community,” Snowe said Monday in an e-mail, “but also provide necessary repairs, renovations, and security enhancements. Installing new windows, an updated heating and cooling system, and other needed improvements will extend the life of the build-ing and ultimately save taxpayer dollars in the long run.”
Snowe also said that she would “be carefully monitoring the use of federal funds” for the project.
A spokesman for Collins said the state’s junior senator also would be keeping an eye on expenses.
“This renovation project will provide good-paying construction jobs and provide a much-needed boost to the Bangor-area economy,” Kevin Kelley said in an e-mail Monday, “but Senator Collins feels it is critical that [the GSA] must ensure that costs are contained.”
The general contractor for the project is Consigli Construction Co. Inc., the same Portland firm that oversaw the construction of the $36.4 million Penobscot Judicial Center on Exchange Street.