HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — The City of Huntsville’s new City Hall and adjoining parking garage are one step closer to reality after Thursday’s council meeting.
The city council unanimously approved a resolution for Mayor Tommy Battle to enter an agreement between the City and Turner Construction Co. for construction services of the new City Hall and parking deck.
The contract totaled $76.8 million and General Services Director Ricky Wilkinson said it is a “significant milestone” for the City.
“This is a legacy project for the City as a whole,” Wilkinson said in a statement. “This is a structure that will stand for at least the next 75 years and have a huge impact on downtown Huntsville.”
The new City Hall and parking garage is set to be built where the current parking garage is on Fountain Circle.
City leaders said Turner will begin demolishing the current parking garage in mid-January and expect the process to take 60-90 days.
The seven-story municipal building will span 170,000 square feet and serve 365 employees. They expect the structure to start going up in mid-2022 and will take about two years to complete.
The adjoining parking deck will provide 568 spots, with the first floor designed for the public and the remaining six floors reserved for City use. Employees who use the current garage will park at other City-owned properties while work on the new City Hall is ongoing.
Unlike the current City Hall, the new municipal building will group interrelated departments to make it easier for citizens to conduct City business. It will also offer room for growth.
“We’re currently located in a number of different buildings and some of the spaces we occupy are leased space. There’s costs associated with that as well as the costs associated with maintaining and operating the buildings we are in. It’s our intention to be much more efficient and get rid of some of those costs associated with maintaining older facilities and leasing space in buildings we don’t own,” Wilkinson said.
The current City Hall building was built in 1963, the 61,000 square foot facility has multiple problems according to Wilkinson. He provided this list during the meeting:
• Inadequate structural integrity (seismic codes)
• Code updates (ADA, building, fire, etc.)
• Façade issues (marble cracking, separating from the building, sealant failure)
• Lack of available space (inefficient layout, less than 50% of space needed)
• Electrical service (parts obsolete)
• Elevator serviceability (parts obsolete)
• Major mechanical systems (end of useful life)
• Building leaks (façade and roof)
The current 512-space parking deck, built in 1965, also has issues requiring attention, such as poor structural integrity, code updates, electrical service and elevator serviceability.
When the new City Hall opens, Wilkinson said employees will enjoy quality amenities, technology, security and public art.
Wilkinson said they are excited to see the project come to life and eventually see the community be able to interact with it as well.