Construction on Hinesville’s new 48,327-square-foot, three-story city hall currently is ahead of schedule. The city broke ground on the $7 million brick and balustrade structure last June after demolishing the old city-hall building.
"It’s built to be here for a long time," Choate Construction Company project manager Kirk Gilbert said of the new city hall.
Choate, headquartered in Pooler, is building Hinesville’s new landmark. James W. Buckley & Associates Inc. is the project’s designer.
Choate first removed asbestos from the old city hall before demolishing the aging 43-year-old building last spring to make room for the new structure. Choate also renovated the second floor of the Hinesville Police Department, which now serves as the city’s interim city hall until the new city hall is completed.
The construction project is funded by SPLOST dollars and a loan, according to city officials.
Hinesville Inspections Department Director Steve Welborn said the structure meets or exceeds the most recent Georgia building codes and adheres to international energy-saving codes adopted by the state early this year.
Gilbert said the building is installed with occupancy sensors, so lights turn off when a room is not occupied.
"And there’s a lot of natural lighting," he said, gesturing to the ground-floor entry’s high windows.
The new city hall’s ground floor, bordered on one side with a graceful arched breezeway, will house a main reception area, water-department offices and a spacious council chamber. City residents will be able to pay water bills by dropping off their payments at a drop box to be installed on the side of the building, Gilbert said.
The new city hall’s interior is being finished with porcelain tile, oak floors, maple wainscoting and handsome carpeting.
A balcony will wrap two sides of the building on the second floor, Gilbert said. The city’s human-resources and community-development departments and a staff training room will be housed there, he said.
Hinesville’s finance and accounting department, public relations and administrative offices will be located on the third floor.
Gilbert said a room to showcase Hinesville’s history will be on the third floor, overlooking Main Street and MLK Drive with a view of the county’s new justice center.
The Hinesville room has a domed ceiling, elliptical windows and built-in glass and polished wood display cases. A catering kitchen is located off the Hinesville room for easy access during official functions.
The mayor and city manager each will have an office on the third floor, and two offices will be shared by the city’s five council members, according to Gilbert.
The new city hall also will have several break rooms for employees and some unfinished space on the second and third floors for future expansion.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The Courier was not permitted to photograph the interior of the new city hall during this initial tour. Once the building is complete and "signed over" to the city, officials said the Courier will be allowed to take interior photographs.