Huntsville’s new town hall and adjacent parking garage are one step away from reality after the regularly scheduled town hall meeting Thursday night.
The City Council unanimously approved a resolution authorizing Mayor Tommy Battle to enter into an agreement between the city and Turner Construction Services for the new town hall and parking deck to be built across the street at the site of the existing parking garage on Fountain Circle. .
Director of Public Services Ricky Wilkinson said the $76.8 million contract approved by the city council is a milestone for the city of Huntsville.
“This is a legacy project for the city as a whole,” he said. “This is a structure that will last for at least 75 years and will have a huge impact on downtown Huntsville.”
Turner Construction, a multinational organization with over 60 years of experience in Huntsville, was the obvious low bidder for the city hall and parking deck contract. Wilkinson said Turner was among six pre-qualified general contractors that bid on the project in early December.
City leaders said Turner will begin demolishing the existing parking garage in mid-January and expect the process to take 60-90 days. The seven-story city hall, which spans 170,000 square feet and serves 365 employees, will begin moving vertically in mid-2022 and take about two years to complete.
Unlike the current city council, the new town hall will bring together interconnected departments to make it easier for citizens to do city business. It will also provide room for growth.
“It brings the divisions together,” Wilkinson said. “We are currently in a number of different buildings and some of the spaces we occupy are rented spaces. There are costs associated with that in addition to the costs associated with maintaining and operating the buildings we are in. We intend to be more efficient and eliminate some of those costs associated with maintaining old facilities and renting out space in the buildings. Which we don’t own. A town.”
An adjacent parking deck will provide 568 places, with the first floor designed for the public and the remaining six floors designated for city use. Employees using the existing garage will park their cars at other city-owned properties while work continues on the new city hall.
During the council meeting, Wilkinson discussed the need for a new city council, which currently has 129 employees. Built in 1963, the 61,000-square-foot facility faces several significant issues, including:
- Inadequate structural integrity (seismic codes)
- Code updates (ADA, building, fire, etc.)
- Facade problems (marble cracking, separation from the building, seal failure)
- Lack of available space (inefficient layout, less than 50% of required space)
- Electrical service (old parts)
- Elevator serviceability (outdated parts)
- Major mechanical systems (end of useful life)
- Building leaks (facade and roof)
The current 512-place parking deck, built in 1965, has issues that also require attention, such as poor structural integrity, code updates, electrical service, and elevator serviceability.
Upon the opening of the new City Hall, Wilkinson said employees will enjoy high-quality amenities, technology, security and public art. The building will also serve as a symbol of our community and play a role in civic pride.
“We are excited to see it come to life and to finally see the audience interact with it,” Wilkinson said.
Click here to view the presentation.