Work continues on the new Union City Hall and the project is trending ahead of schedule.
City Administrator Russell Rost said the project is progressing. Crews have been able to capitalize on the good weather days and get a significant amount of work done on the site at 10 E. Locust St.
While not wanting to jinx anything, Rost said the project could be finished as early at August. The city has been targeting a fall 2020 opening.
“In another month, we will be able to determine scheduling much more accurately,” he said.
Crews were able to beat the cold winter and get the frame of the building in place in late 2019. That enabled work to continue inside even during bath weather.
“The interior work on the building is going very well,” Rost said. “The windows have been installed, drywall is up, a portion of the building has been painted, the electrical installations are underway, and flooring installation will begin in about a week.”
Work outside is ongoing and more weather dependent. Crews have spent the last few days trying to do brick work on the building, but have run into delays.
“The exterior also is going well, but weather has been an issue with the brick laying,” Rost said. “Although not critical yet, it would be very helpful if we could have a full week or two of warmer/dryer weather.”
Rost said the brick laying is a key component of the project. Other work can’t start until the brick work is finished.
The city doesn’t expect any delays to the overall project despite the brick laying weather problems.
The city hosted the official groundbreaking for the project in October 2019. The groundbreaking was a culmination of work to get the site ready for a new building.
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 the city auditorium.
The city agreed to purchase the former Fricks grocery store in late March 2018 for $475,000 from Central Markets Inc. The city stated it intended to use the site for the first permanent city hall in Union’s history.
In the summer of 2019, the city razed the old Fricks market and cleared the way for construction to begin. Meanwhile, the city’s owner representative Navigate Building Solutions, and Horn Architects worked on preparing for the new facility.
Work on the site started in September 2019.
The new city hall will be approximately 12,000 square feet and will house the city’s administration, collector’s office, boardroom, court, meeting room and engineering department.
The city will move from its current location in the city auditorium.
“The current building, you know, it wasn’t designed for this,” Rost said. “People have trouble finding it, finding who they’re looking for. It’s not a very good flow for business here.”
Rost said the new building will be much more user friendly.
The city has been looking for ways to improve city hall after an accessibility study in 2017 showed major issues with the auditorium.
The current city hall is in need of work because it has a number of Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) issues. Horn’s 2017 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.