City Hall project update

The $2.7 million in renovations to Marietta City Hall will enter Phase II of construction next week, as departments move out of the first floor today to make way for more sawing, drilling and painting.

First floor departments, including the mayor’s, will fit up into the finished second floor while contractors install a new elevator, finish walls and complete renovations to the first floor.

Though a long process, city officials are ready for construction to end and to move back into new, renovated areas that they hope will increase access and efficiency.

Phase I Completion: April 30

Phase I, which largely included the second floor, will be finished today, complete with new floors, bathrooms, work rooms and paint that lines the walls, which will house the police, IT and the accompanying computer server room.

“We’ve taken down some walls and opened the area up a lot more,” said Captain Jeff Waite. “It’ll make everything more efficient.”

Dispatchers were up and running again in the newly renovated space Monday, and beginning today there will be a solid day of moving desks and workstations upstairs.

“By end of the day (Wednesday) we hope to be working completely out of the renovated area,” Waite said. “The basement was damp and dingy, and now we’ll have a clean, modern facility.”

The completion of Phase I also means that Mayor Joe Matthew’s first floor office will move upstairs with police until their end of the building is complete.

“It’s a tad frustrating, but the contractors are doing a fantastic job and we’re happy with what they’ve done so far,” Matthews said. “When you get into those older buildings with asbestos and other issues you it always takes a little bit longer.”

Tanner Huffman, who works for the city’s public facilities department, has been helping move city officials around throughout the week.

“It’s nice to see it all coming together, and it’s definitely going to look a lot better,” he said.

Phase II: Beginning May 5

Once everyone is moved to the completed second floor, full-fledged construction will begin on the first floor, where contractors will be removing and replacing walls, making the floor handicap accessible and adding bathrooms.

“The mayor’s office, auditor, treasurer and IT will all be demoed, along with some of the pockets throughout the hallways, all starting next week,” said Safety Service Director Jonathan Hupp.

The basement of the building, which currently houses police locker rooms and polygraph rooms, will be gutted completely and turned into evidence storage, new locker rooms and a break rooms.

“New locker rooms will be built to accommodate women, which we have now but barely, so it’s a big change,” Hupp said. “In the basement, with all the flooding, they were stepping around raw sewage, and they needed the new place.”

During this phase, Putnam and Third Street entrances will be closed off, and the public must access the building on the alley side off Putnam Street.

“It’s all about safety; we don’t want the public walking around there where construction is going on,” Hupp said.

Also starting today, IT officials will be installing the new phone system.

“Most of the offices didn’t have caller ID, but this will improve the communication with 911 and the call center, which we needed,” said Network Administrator Amy Tucker.

Tucker said the switchover will only last about five minutes, meaning the public should not have to worry about trying to contact numbers within city hall.

Hupp said construction is still on target for completion by August, when the city’s various murals and paintings, all cleaned, will be brought back in.

“Grae-Con Construction has been fantastic, they’ve been right on schedule, and they’ve addressed every hiccup,” Hupp said. “As has Pickering Associates, who has been consulting with us throughout.”

Hupp said though it seems a lengthy and frustrating process, it will all be worth it.

“All in all when it gets done we’ll be happy,” Matthews said. “But Rome wasn’t built in a day.”