City staff, elected officials, citizens and members of the construction teams gathered at the future site of the Union City Hall Monday to mark the beginning of the construction project.
Union Mayor Rod Tappe thanked the crowd for attending the groundbreaking and taking part in what he called “a big day for the city.”
While work on the site has technically been ongoing since September, the ceremony marked the unofficial beginning of the city hall project. In 12 months, the project is expected to be finished, allowing city staff to move in.
The brief ceremony featured short remarks by Tappe. He called the event a “celebration” and spoke of the excitement surrounding the city hall project.
When finished, the building will be the first designated city hall in Union’s history.
After wrapping up his speech, Tappe joined former Mayor Mike Livengood and members of the board of aldermen by grabbing shovels for the ceremonial groundbreaking. Afterwards, they were joined by city staff. Members of the project’s construction team also gathered for a photo.
The new city hall is being built at 10. E. Locust St. just east of Zion United Church of Christ and the site of the former Fricks market.
Work on the site has been ongoing since Wright Construction, St. Peters, arrived on-site at the end of September. Wright Construction was awarded a contract for the project by aldermen at the September board meeting.
The firm recently finished construction of the new Scenic Regional Library’s Union branch and administrative offices.
Wright’s base bid for the new city hall was $2,577,000. Including alternate projects, the total comes to $2,669,585.
The city had stated the construction budget for the project was $3,003,838.
Based on a time line presented by Navigate Building Solutions, the city’s owner representative on the project, the work is expected to take a little over a year. Since being hired late last year, Navigate has long targeted having the city moved in by October 2020.
Substantial completion of the building is planned for September 2020.
The city agreed to purchase the former Fricks grocery store in late March 2018 for $475,000 from Central Markets Inc. with the intent to turn the site into a new city hall.
The city has never had a building designated specifically for city hall. Through the years, it has shared space with the fire department, police department and now the city auditorium.
The new city hall is slated to be approximately 12,000 square feet and will house the city’s administration, collector’s office, boardroom, court, meeting room and engineering department.
To help manage the project, the city hired Navigate in October 2018. With Navigate’s help, Horn Architects, Washington, was hired in December 2018 to design the building.
Horn and the city had a previous relationship on an old project for a new city hall. Horn developed a city hall design concept in 1999-2000 that never moved forward due to funding.
The two groups were brought back together in 2017 when Horn completed a feasibility study on the current city hall and identified all the issues with the building. That study led the city to decide to leave its current facility and look for a new home.
The current city hall, which doubles as the city auditorium, is in need of work because it has a number of Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) issues. Horn’s feasibility study on the current auditorium found a wide range of issues that needed to be addressed to meet federal standards.
Based on the study, the city decided the best way to move forward would be to leave the auditorium and build a new city hall.
Once the new city hall is finished, the city plans to partially renovate and upgrade the auditorium. The majority of city staff will move to the new building while others, like the parks department, will stay behind.
The renovation work on the auditorium will start when the new city hall is finished.