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President’s House ready for occupation by mid-2019
President-elect Paula-Mae Weekes would have to wait until June of 2019 to occupy President’s House in St Ann’s.
This was the time frame chairman of the Urban Development Corporation of T&T Noel Garcia gave yesterday, as he shared some insight into the historical building.
For the past seven years works on the building has been in abeyance.
“We hope to start work, I would say, in the first quarter of this year. We are going to make a recommendation to the Cabinet with respect to the contractor. We will wait and see what happens.”
Once Cabinet gives the green light for renovations and restorations repairs, Garcia said Udecott will ensure that work goes apace to get the job done.
Garcia, however, kept the name of the local contractor close to his chest.
“No! I can’t tell you. Suffice to say we went out for selective tender. We invited eleven of the top restoration contractors. A number of local contractors submit tenders. We recommended that the one who was the lowest tenderer be recommended to Cabinet.”
Supervising the work, Garcia said would be a restoration architect.
Garcia said if all goes well, the work will take “between 15 to 18 months. We are looking at the middle of next year to complete the project.”
The selective tender, Garcia said went out last September.
“We closed off the tender in October. We evaluated them…we finished that evaluation early this year.”
Asked what was the value of the contract for the project, Garcia said: “Let’s say it falls within the budget.”
In March 2013, Garcia said the repairs works was estimated at $100 million.
“It’s a lot of work. That was why the original estimate was around $100 million.”
Garcia said works on President’s House will be extensive.
“They (contractor) have to repair the roof. Remember the roof had collapsed while former president George Maxwell Richards and his wife Dr Jean Ramjohn- Richards were there.”
In addition, the walls and foundation of the building which was built between 1873 and 1876 would have to be repaired.
While work is ongoing, Garcia said he can only assume that Weekes who will be officially become President in March will reside where outgoing President Anthony Carmona and his family currently stays at President’s Cottage.
“The President lives on the President’s Grounds which is what we know as the cottage.”
Some staff, including security officers, are currently housed in air-conditioned shipping containers on the President’s compound.
HISTORY OF RESTORATION PLANS
n May 17, 2010—Roof of President’s House collapsed
n March 2011—Then Works Minister Jack Warner said restoration work had
started and contracts awarded for the project
n January 2012—Galvanised roof goes up over collapsed part of President’s
n July 2012—Scaffolding up but no significant repairs to the building.
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