City approves design contract for Missouri Room remodel
City Commissioners voted unanimously during their Aug. 1 meeting to approve a $321,950 design contract for a court remodel.
The city is planning to remodel the Missouri Room upstairs in the Civic Center into the Municipal Court, which is currently in the basement of the building.
Commissioners directed staff to move forward with the Missouri Room remodel during a July work session.
Commissioners awarded the design contract to Cushing Terrell, which already provided preliminary designs.
The contract will be funded by with American Rescue Plan Act funds, according to city staff.
Mayor Bob Kelly said “we have looked high and low” for space to move the count.
He said that previous commissions were unable or unwilling to make such a move and that there are now other event spaces in the community that didn’t previously exist.
Kelly said the Missouri Room has been host to a lot of great events, but commissioners think court space is the best use of the room for the city’s current needs.
The joint city-county Historic Preservation Advisory Commission opposed the use of the Missouri Room for court space and asked commissioners to consider other options.
No HPAC members attended the Aug. 1 meeting.
Commissioner Susan Wolff said the remodel design preserved and enhanced the historical features in the room.
“I think it’s going to be fantastic,” she said.
City Manager Greg Doyon said that presently, the Missouri Room is the most logical location for Municipal Court.
Voters approved the addition of a second Municipal Court judge on the November 2022 ballot and that position is on the city’s November 2023 ballot to take office in January 2024.
The court has also faced a growing caseload and is running out of room for file storage and staff, according to court officials.
City staff looked at a number of options throughout town, to include the court space on the upper levels of the federal post office, private property around the Civic Center and the city-owned property currently leased and occupied by the Children’s Museum.
Doyon said the move will impact the city’s events division and budget, which is already operating on a thin margin.
He said there are rooms used regularly by city staff, particularly the IT training room, that won’t be available after the remodel so the design contract includes preliminary designs for remodeling the Civic Center basement for meeting space.
For background, here’s our previous coverage on the discussion: