~ Springfield City Council received an update on the progress of the rehabilitation process for Springfield's Historic City Hall during their Tuesday, Feb. 6 Lunch Workshop. The presentation was given by representatives from the Springfield Public Works Facility Design and Construction division, design contractor Sapp Design Architects, and construction management contractor JE Dunn.

The Historic City Hall Rehabilitation Project aims to renovate the interior of the building, including three occupied floors, a full basement, and attic space. This will allow the building to continue serving as a municipal office and meeting facility. The design plans include a new fire stairwell and elevator capable of accommodating medical emergencies, as well as upgrades to mechanical and electrical systems, information technology, security measures, public restrooms, and office spaces. The project also includes improvements to City Council Chambers.

City Architect Jennifer Swan shared that contractors have completed winterization measures to protect the building from harsh weather conditions this winter. They anticipate hazardous material abatement to take place in the spring.

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Swan also stated that they expect final design plans and construction documents to be completed by this spring. Construction is set to begin in the summer with a goal of finishing up by the first quarter of 2026.

During the presentation, representatives from Sapp Design Architects explained their design strategy based on four preservation zones identified through historic research on the structure. They then walked City Council through concept sketches for each floor's renovation and usage, as well as plans for upgrading mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems.

The renovation design aims to address historic concerns at local, state, and federal levels while also meeting compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and achieving LEED Silver certification. Additionally, the City plans to develop an informational program to educate citizens on the historical significance of the project before, during, and after construction.

The estimated cost for rehabilitation is $16.5 million. Currently, $10.5 million is funded through the City's Level Property Tax and local ARPA fund allocations. City Council is considering a proposal to fund the remaining $6 million through a combination of General Fund Carryover Funds and additional Level Property Tax and ARPA fund allocations.

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Springfield's Historic City Hall has a rich history, originally designed in 1891 as the United States Customhouse and Post Office. The building officially opened on June 21, 1894, with its exterior constructed of limestone from Stinesville, Indiana. The first two floors housed the post office, offices, and support staff, while the third floor was home to the federal courtroom and offices.

In 1913, a major addition was built on the north end of the building, wrapping around the east side. A mailing vestibule addition was also constructed in 1927 on the south elevation, which was later expanded in 1932 to include four loading docks on both the south and east elevations. In recent years, this portion of the building has been used as office space for the Springfield Fire Department.

The building was designated as a site on the Springfield Historic Register by City Council in 1973 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.

Since most City offices relocated to the Busch Municipal Building in 1992, Springfield's Historic City Hall has provided office space for various City departments and served as a public meeting space. Currently, it houses City Council Chambers, administrative staff from the Springfield Fire Department, and other City employees in office spaces that have remained unchanged since 1976.

As plans for rehabilitation continue to progress, Springfield's Historic City Hall will soon undergo significant changes while still preserving its historical significance.

Filed Under: Government, City

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