The Denison City Council approved $450,000 in additional funding toward the ongoing renovation of the former Bank of America building during a council meeting Monday night. These renovations will prepare the former bank building for its future role as the new Denison City Hall.
With these additional funds, the city is expected to invest about $3.6 million in total for the renovation project, officials said Monday. This includes pre-construction demolition, site prep, furniture and other expenses.
These additional funds will allow the city to pursue some optional parts of the project that were initially bid out as alternatives alongside the base renovation project. As there have been few setbacks or additional costs to the renovations, city officials feel these additional items could be included in the remodel, City Manager Jud Rex said.
“We knew going into this that we wanted to do these projects,” Rex said. “But we wanted to make sure the project was going along and we would not need this funding elsewhere.”
These additional funds will be used to replace the building’s aging heating, ventilation, and air conditioning units and a new roof on the building, among other projects. The second floor restrooms will also be rebuilt and brought into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, Rex said.
As the city was preparing to purchase the building in early 2016, the city contracted engineers to assess the building for any repairs or major improvements that would be needed as a part of the renovation process. During these assessments, it was determined that the roof and the HVAC system both had about 10 years of life left before they would need to be replaced.
Initial plans called for the city to address these needs at later date, but officials determined that to replace the HVAC system a hole would need to be cut in the building’s roof, Public Works Director Bobby Atteberry said. As such, city officials felt it would interfere with city business if it was done after the building is in use.
Meeting documents listed the expected cost of the HVAC repairs at about $194,887 with an additional $11,152 for roof hatch improvements. The roof replacement is expected to cost about $154,211.
The remaining additional funds will also be used to renovate a second-floor bathroom. Initially, city officials expected only light improvements would be necessary for the renovations, but it was later determined more extensive work would be needed to bring it into compliance with the ADA.
To funds these improvements, city staff proposed using $125,000 in rainy day funds, $245,000 from the city’s general fund and $80,000 from the utility fund. Any additional funding would come from cost savings from other parts of the renovation project that came in under budget.
In the initial budget, Rex said the city included $400,000 for fixtures, furniture, and technology and equipment improvements, but this item is expected to be under budget.
Current plans for the building have the majority of public services conducted on the first floor, with the council chambers located in the center of what was once the main bank lobby area. The chambers will have glass walls to the exterior and feature a circular architectural feature in the center of the room. Other services, including most staff offices, will be on the second and third floors, which will be built out during the renovations.
Through the city’s renovations, it will be able to use some of the existing features of the 1970s-era building including the spiral staircase at the front of the building, the ground floor’s terrazzo flooring and the tall glass windows. The former bank vaults will also be used as storage rooms and will retain their signature doors, Atteberry said.
The move to make the former bank building into the new city hall started in 2015 when the city entered into a due diligence period before purchasing the property. As a part of the purchasing agreement, the city agreed to pay $400,000 to Hempkins Partners and exchange the current city hall building on Chestnut Street for the new facility. The agreement also included the demolition of the former motor bank on Chestnut Street at city expense.
The new facility will give staff more than double the current space allowed by the city hall building and allow the city to consolidate all of its staff to one location. This will also allow the city to end its lease of the current city hall annex which houses the water and code enforcement and building departments.
In December, Rex said current estimates show that the new city hall will sustain the city’s growth for the next 20 years, but he noted that it is hard to anticipate this due to growth in the region.
“A lot can change in 20 years based on how fast or slow the city and staff grows,” he said. “I would say 20 years, but that comes with a big asterisk.”