City staff can stretch out |

City staff can stretch out

Of all the improvements at the new Glenwood Springs City Hall, employees seemed most pleased with the building’s ample elbow room. On Monday the new City Hall officially opened for business.

The new brick City Hall at 101 W. Eighth St. boasts 36,000 square feet, dwarfing the old City Hall at 806 Cooper Ave.

Just outside the main entrance is a handsome civic plaza shared by the new Garfield County Jail and the 1930s-era Garfield County Courthouse.

Completing the plaza, located just across Eighth Street, is the new Garfield County Courthouse Plaza.

“I think it’s a great facility,” public works director Robin Millyard said of the new City Hall. “We’re finally all in one space in the building and all of our files are with us instead of being on different floors in different buildings.”

City engineer Larry Thompson wholeheartedly agreed.

“We’ve got room for files and storage that’s not in our individual offices,” said Thompson, whose old office was crammed with stacks of reports and plans.

Conference rooms are also a welcome addition, Millyard said.

“It’s somewhere we can go to just sit down and talk. That’s a huge improvement,” he said.

Built back in 1965, the old City Hall building had developed heating and air conditioning problems, leaks in the roof and difficulties with the ventilation system. The city’s staff also outgrew the limited space in the building, with workers being forced to share small offices.

Other noticeable differences in the new building include water fountains that don’t shoot a stream of water against the wall, a glass slider over the public notice board, and the convenience of having the police department and municipal court in the same building as other city departments.

A high-tech City Council Chamber provides more room and will give the public more information about discussion topics by projecting pertinent documents, maps and letters onto a pull-down screen visible to the audience.

A divider was also built into the room, making it usable for other types of functions, much like Carbondale’s Town Hall. Double doors open onto a courtyard.

“I’m thrilled,” community development director Andrew McGregor said. “It’s just much more positive.”

The large windows placed on all sides of the building allow natural light to brighten up the offices. And the solarium at the entry of the building and open balcony above create a warm, but air-conditioned, environment.

“Obviously it’s much better for us as employees, but I think it will be much better for the public,” McGregor said. “We’re really thankful.”

McGregor’s office, along with the offices for the rest of the Community Development Department, is located on the second floor.

The final cost of the four-level City Hall ran about $6 million, said Pat Seydel, construction representative for the city.

The basement level houses the police department, with an at-grade entrance on the west side. On the first floor, a receptionist sits at the ready to tell people where they need to go. Across from that desk, Glenwood Springs electric and water customers can pay their bills at the window of the Finance Department. Also on the first floor is the city’s municipal courtroom and City Council Chambers.

The second floor houses the Community Development Department, while the third floor contains the city manager’s office, city attorneys’ offices and the city clerk’s office.

The $6 million price tag does not include related projects such as the plaza between the new City Hall and the Courthouse, rebuilding Eighth Street in front of City Hall, and a new parking lot at the old Municipal Operations Center on Seventh Street.

The original budget for the building was $5.5 million, with the winning bid being $5.56 million. Since that bid, however, City Council approved increasing the budget to $6 million.

The building was designed by OZ Architecture of Boulder and built by Etkin and Skanska Construction Co. of Littleton.

City Hall was built with funds from a $17 million bond issue approved by voters in November 1998.

The money also allowed for the construction of the $7.5 million Community Center and the $5.6 million Municipal Operations Center, both of which opened within the past year.

Seydel called the outer material a brick veneer, matching the Garfield County Jail and the Garfield County Courthouse in color and design.

The parking lot, located behind City Hall and across Seventh Street, is complete except for landscaping.

About 100 people will work at the new building. That includes around 60 in city departments and close to 40 police department employees, Seydel said.

The transition from the old City Hall last Friday to the new one was “successful and really organized,” Seydel said.

“Considering everything that was moved, it went great. It seems like everybody’s settling in,” he said.

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