Gainesville’s historic City Hall building will soon get $900,000 worth of renovations to open up its main floor.
The old city hall, located at 117 Jesse Jewell Parkway, will get a similar investment as the Gainesville Civic Center received for its renovations earlier this year, which cost $1.2 million. The money to cover design and construction costs on old city hall will come from SPLOST money, a one penny sales tax used for capital projects, City Manager Bryan Lackey said during Gainesville City Council’s work session Thursday, Sept. 30.
BCA Studios Architects developed plans for the project and conducted an environmental study of the building. They found asbestos, which the city will also have to deal with, Lackey said.
“We had them analyze exactly what walls have to stay,” Lackey said.
The preliminary plan would open up the main floor of the building to have three large rooms, creating space for catering, new restrooms and event space. Renderings show walls colored green that can be moved, walls in red that are load-bearing and yellow to show places where the city may or may not be able to clear walls.
The city does not plan to change the second floor or the basement level much during the process, Lackey said. Next, the city will set up a committee to determine the best use of the space. City Council members suggested that members of the Main Street Gainesville Advisory Board and the Historic Preservation Committee would be candidates for the committee.
“This building has a historic significance to the community,” Lackey said. “We want to make sure everyone’s good with what we’re doing with it. … We have ideas to open the space up… but we’re open to whatever the community wants.”
The city hopes to complete the renovations by the end of 2022, and the money for the project is in this fiscal year’s budget plan, Lackey said.