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City proposes Civic Center upgrade Print E-mail
Written by Jerry Durgan, Staff Reporter   

Architect West Summers discussed options to upgrade the Bamberg City Civic Center at the county council meeting.

Summers commended the council for aggressively pursuing the building and wanting to implement a plan that would upgrade the facility for multiple community uses. “It’s certainly a viable project,” he said. “We think it’s extremely fortunate that you have a building such as this for a civic center. Not many cities the size of Bamberg, or even Orangeburg, have such a facility with as much land around it for multiple uses. You’ve got quite a piece of property. It’s great,” he commented with a wry grin, “that they gave you the building, but they should have given you money along with it.”

Summers presented three phases, or “alternative” areas he believes the city should focus on in upgrading the building. Phase “A” included safety issues such fire alarms, exits and security features, a new “roof over the existing flat roof at the front, side, and back of the building, a canopied walkway from the entrance of the building to the parking lot that “would not only a covering for visitors but would enhance the overall design of the building.”

Alternate “B” suggested renovations of the front offices. “You’ve got spaces there,” he explained, “that can be used by the police department and other city departments. The large drill hall, 6,200 square feet can be renovated as a auditorium and stage, and there are other spaces suitable for meeting and screening rooms, arts and craft, storage, etc.,” he explained.

Alternate or phase “C” he explained, would include renovation of the exterior of the building, a more efficient heating and cooling system, replacing windows and doors, site lighting, landscaping, and drainage.

The proposals will be considered by council's Public Buildings Committee, with recommendations to be brought back to the council at a later date.

In other business, council approved a $1,000 donation to Craig Walker for the Bamberg Youth Basketball Program. Over 70 individuals are expected to participate in this program this year.

Councilman Buddy Sandifer reported that the city has been unfortunate to have had a series of break-ins “over the past few months. “We’ve had break-in after break-in after break-in,” he commented. “Evidently these people (the law breakers) “know exactly where the officers are … when officers do door checks. When you set up a routine those law breakers can anticipate. Every officer we’ve got is doing the very best that he can with what we give him to work with.”

Bamberg Police Chief Morris explained that “It’s been a little better these last few weeks. "Bamberg Police Chief Morris explained that “It’s been a little better these last few weeks.”

Following a brief executive session, during visitors' comments, Elizabeth Moody presented council with a petition containing 961 signatures requesting council and the city Economic Development Committee to work at bringing another grocery store to Bamberg. City resident Vernon Able asked why council agendas are not published in the newspaper prior to the meetings and was particularly concerned why public input was limited to the end of council meetings.

Clerk-Treasurer Bruce Watson explained that the meeting actually is for the elected officials of the City to conduct the business of the city. While the public is encouraged to attend and provide input, he explained, the meetings are not intended as regular public forums or debates. “If you have something for the city to consider,” he said, “be placed on the agenda in sufficient time for agenda publication.”

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