City considering contract for Civic Center office space remodel

During their Nov. 17 meeting, City Commissioners will consider awarding a $298,700 contract to Wadsworth Buildings for the city finance office remodel.

City staff have been discussing options for years on remodeling the Civic Center in order to group departments that are sprinkled throughout the building, including finance, legal, human resources, administration and planning.

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Previous proposals had included remodeling the Gibson Room for the legal department to move into and the Missouri Room was considered for the planning department, but those ideas didn’t progress.

The city looked at space in the old Great Northern building on Railroad Square behind the Civic Center, but that space didn’t work out, according to Deputy City Manager Chuck Anderson. He said the city had been attempting to use some COVID-19 funding for that purchase, but found out last week that the money wasn’t available for the office space acquisition.

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The city is still considering using the building that currently houses the Children’s Museum for office space. The museum’s lease expires in 2023 and they are working on relocation plans.

The remodel being considered during the Nov. 17 meeting would remodel 3,737 square feet to create space for the legal department to move to the first floor into a portion of the current finance office and closer to other legal staff in the prosecutor’s office and Municipal Court in the basement, according to the staff report.

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Human Resources staff, who are currently scattered throughout the Civic Center, would move into the space vacated by legal on the second floor, consolidating the HR staff. Some administration staff would move upstairs, creating space for planning in the basement.

The current finance office on the first floor would be vacated for construction and temporary space would be provided for finance staff in the IT training room on the second floor and working remotely, according to staff.

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There would be some disruption to Municipal Court with construction affecting the ceilings in some areas and plumbing work could be done during off hours. The IT department wouldn’t be affected by construction but would support the relocations.

The work will include the demolition of walls, removal of carpet and acoustical tile ceilings; installation of new metal stud walls, new carpeting; paint all wall surfaces and install new acoustical tile suspension ceiling system; and modify the mechanical system and electrical equipment.

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Construction could begin mid-December and last for 120 days, according to staff.

The city received four bids for the project ranging from $298,700 to $379,677 with Wadsworth submitting the low bid. The city has funds available in the capital projects account.