Hinesville will begin preparing its police station Monday for use as a temporary city hall ahead of the new city hall construction project. Once the station’s second floor is ready to accommodate city employees and services, the old city hall will be demolished to make way for a new one.
"We will start on Jan. 18 with construction to the second floor of the police station," said Steve Welborn, director of inspections for the City of Hinesville. "We will add restrooms and add petitions (for offices) to accommodate the employees that will move over there."
Welborn said the station should be ready to serve as a temporary city hall in April. Additional parking will also be created, he said.The city owns a concrete building across from the police station, said Hinesville City Manager Billy Edwards. That building will be torn down to make room for more parking spaces, he said.
"After the station is ready, we will move everybody from the existing city hall and get them situated there. Then we’ll start demolition on the existing city hall," Welborn said. "We anticipate that to happen in May."
"All the functions being conducted at city hall and the inspections office will move into that location (top floor police station) temporarily," Edwards said. "When completed the new city hall building will be 48,000 square feet and three stories high."
Edwards said the new city hall will not have a drive-through window for residents to pay their water bills.
"Residents can receive and pay their water bills online," he said. "We’re encouraging people to take advantage of this service. It saves time and paper for our customers to do this."
The new city hall will have a utility bill payment drop box outside the building. While the police station serves as a temporary city hall, customer service representatives will be located off the station’s main lobby to serve water customers, Edwards said.
"And we will install a kiosk (in the lobby) where a customer can pay their water bill with a credit or debit card," he added.
Edwards said movable partitions will be used to create office space on the police station’s second floor. When the new city hall is built and city employees move out of the police station, Hinesville police can then use the partitions as they wish, he said.
The current city hall was built in 1967 and was renovated in 1987. The building inspections offices were built in late 1970s, and were tied onto the current city hall, Edwards explained.
The new city hall will be more energy efficient and spacious than the old building, he added.
"We will be able to move our community development employees into the new city hall," Edwards said.
"The total cost for all construction under this contract is right at $7 million," said David Holton, project manager. "Due to the competitive bidding environment, this came in well under the budgeted amount for this project."
The city hall construction project will be funded with $4 million in Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax funds, which were set aside for the new city hall and the public works department, according to Edwards. The balance of the city hall project will be financed through a loan, the city manager said. The city is looking at its options, including acquiring certificates of participation through the Georgia Municipal Association, he said.
City officials anticipate the new city hall to be completed in December 2011.
Buckley & Associates architectural and engineering firm will oversee the project’s construction and Choate Construction Company of Savannah will build the new city hall.