Council approves City Hall renovation
Published 8:02 pm Tuesday, February 21, 2012
The Bainbridge City Council has signed off on the City Hall Renovation project, which will begin in March and take about a year to complete.
At its meeting on Tuesday night, the City Council unanimously approved the final project budget of $3,717,449, which includes construction costs and a $100,000 contingency.
Counting architectural and engineering fees, furnishings, fixtures, equipment and other fees, the estimated total final cost is $4.1 million, according to City Manager Chris Hobby, who presented the project to the council Tuesday night. Hobby said the plan is to re-use as much furniture as possible in the new City Hall, with replacements only being made out of obvious need.
Childers Construction LLC of Tallahassee, Fla., will provide construction management services, using PDC Construction of Bainbridge as its major local partner. Other local subcontractors, who will comprise more than 50 percent of the project’s participants according to Hobby, include Construction D & E, Anvar Painting and Hall Cabinet Works. Clemons, Rutherford and Associates of Tallahassee, Fla., is the project’s architect.
The process of moving current City Hall personnel and operations to their temporary home in the old Gowan Furniture Building will begin immediately, with the goal of having everything out by March 16, Hobby said. At that time, the current City Hall—which is actually made up of three buildings, one of them vacant—will be turned over to Childers and PDC to begin the major planned renovations.
City Councilman Luther Conyers, who has held his seat since 1978, remembers when City Hall was run out of what is now the Firehouse Center and Gallery, along with the city’s fire department and jail.
“I think eventually citizens will totally approve of the renovation,” Conyers said. “Right now, there are some concerns over spending the money in the current economy. But I think once it’s complete, they will see the value of keeping our historic buildings intact.”
Councilman Dean Burke, who was on one of the committees that studied the renovation project in its conceptual phase, said he agreed with Conyers.
“I think it’s important for us as city leaders to stay connected to our downtown,” Burke said. “The alternative to renovating the current City Hall would have been to build a new one elsewhere, which have hurt our downtown.”
The project will be funded by a private bond issuance conducted last November through Sun Trust Bank. Future collections from Bainbridge’s share of the current Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) will be used to repay the bond; the city has up to 20 years to do so.
The headquarters of the City of Bainbridge consists of two buildings at present—the original marble building at the corner of Broughton and Broad streets and an adjacent building to the north that houses the Community Development division offices. A third building, the dilapidated Kwilecki Building to the south, will be renovated and unified with the other two to provide more office and storage space.
Other highlights of the new City Hall include a larger Council chambers that would be more accessible and useful for other meetings, a “one-stop shop” for payment of city bills, fees and fines and general improvements to the building’s safety.
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