Town hall repairs could start next week in Exeter
Most of the building has remained closed since the fire sparked by a nearby lightning strike, but the town expects to have the scope of the project finalized by Friday to allow work to start, according to Kevin Smart, the town’s maintenance supervisor.
The town’s finance office located in the basement was temporarily moved after the blaze, but has since returned. The rest of the building remains closed.
The town hall was built in 1855 and was once visited by Abraham Lincoln, who spoke to Republicans there during a visit to Exeter in 1860.
The bulk of the work will involve repairing original plaster walls and ceilings, including a tin ceiling in the auditorium; replacing a hardwood floor in the area of the fire; and refinishing a hardwood floor in the auditorium damaged by water.
“It’s an 1850s building so it’s not your average office building or residential building,” he said.
The town hopes the entire project can be completed within a time-frame of 90 days.
Some portions of the building may be able to open even as work continues in other areas.
“If we can accommodate people along the way that’s what we’ll do,” Smart said.