Renovated City Hall opens Monday

Published 5:03 pm Friday, July 12, 2013

New City Council chambers

New City Council chambers

The new Bainbridge City Hall will be open for business on Monday, although city employees were still busy moving into the historic marble building at 101 S. Broad St. on Friday.

The approximately $4.2 million renovation of Bainbridge City Hall began April 1, 2012, and is essentially complete. City employees, painters and other contractors were putting on the finishing touches inside the building this week, office supplies were being unboxed and new computer equipment was being set up.

All utility payments, fines and fees can be paid on the first floor, facing Broad Street, starting Monday at 8 a.m. The Bainbridge City Council will hold its first meeting in the renovated city hall, in its new first floor chambers, on Tuesday night at 6:30 p.m.

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A formal public open house will be held sometime in August, City Manager Chris Hobby said. A plaza with green space is being created in an area that used to be a parking lot, near the corner of Broughton and Clark streets. Near the plaza will be the main entrance for citizens attending council meetings. There are stairs and a wheelchair lift leading up from the Broughton Street side of city hall to the council chambers.

From left to right are General Administration Director Lisa Taylor and employees Jennifer Clary, Dianne Haire, Miriam Mitchell, Tammy White and Karen Malone.

From left to right are General Administration Director Lisa Taylor and employees Jennifer Clary, Dianne Haire, Miriam Mitchell, Tammy White and Karen Malone.

There a variety of historical architectural and design elements inside the renovated city hall, according to city officials.

The pressed tin ceiling on the left hand side of the new city hall lobby, closest to Broughton Street, is the original ceiling from 1901, which had been covered up during a previous renovation in the 1970s.

“We originally planned to replace the ceiling in the lobby with new tin or an acoustic ceiling, but the demolition revealed the original ceiling was in pretty good shape so we kept it,” Hobby said.

A new tin ceiling that looks similar in appearance can be seen in the right-hand side of the two-story lobby, above what used to be the old council chambers.

There are several remaining elements reflecting the building’s original usage as a bank in the early 1900s. The night depository off Broad Street, which is still functional, was originally used for the bank.

Chip Hall of Hall Cabinet Works handled all the millwork, casework and cabinetry in the building. Hall also fashioned the wooden storefront framing and the wooden entrance door off Broad Street out of Spanish cedar.

Main entrance off Broad Street

Main entrance off Broad Street

The new council chambers mixes new technology with a historic look.

The top and base of the council dais are made with heart pine, which was reclaimed from the original floor joists in the Kwilecki building, which comprises about a third of the new city hall. Trim inside the chambers was made from the same heart pine.

The Kwilecki building is mostly just unfinished open space for now. In the future, that part of the building will accomodate storage space and new offices if the city hall workforce expands.

Upstairs in city hall, where the general administration offices are located, a previously-covered row of windows has been restored, letting more natural light into the building.

Childers Construction of Tallahassee is the contractor for the renovation — its local partner is PDC Construction of Bainbridge.

Several other local contractors also worked on the project, including Johnny Anvar Painting, Hall Cabinet Works and D & E Construction.