The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Athens & Limestone County Today

February 25, 2013

City hall to be built within about two years

— By the end of 2014, Athens may have a new city hall that will remind residents of the original Athens — the one in Greece.

Construction workers are about to build a $2.2 million, Greek Revival-style city hall where the old city hall once stood at the corner of Marion and Hobbs streets downtown.

Mayor Ronnie Marks says the new city hall will have details similar to the Limestone County Courthouse a block south. Site work for the new buildings began in December 2012.

“The engineering study is done; the demolition of old city hall is obviously done; and the fill dirt for the basement is in place,” Marks said. “As soon as we get a dry period, we will get the foundation laid.”

Once the foundation is set, the project will take about 20 to 24 months to complete, the mayor said.

Approach

Although officials initially planned to retain the old council chambers, they later determined that was unworkable. City employees are using offices at the Athens Utilities building on Wilkinson Street until the new city hall is built. The City Council borrowed $2.2 million in 2009 to build the new facility. They plan to use city workers, when available, and prison laborers on the project in order to afford a better building, Marks said.

Cost

So far, the city has spent about $100,000 for demolition and site work. The $2.2 million budget — with a 10 percent contingency — has not changed since the project was announced, Marks said.

Separate bids will be taken soon for various aspects of the work, including plumbing, electrical and construction, and the city will use existing employees to oversee construction, so there will be no need to hire a construction manager, according to the mayor.

Public Works Director James Rich and Sanitation Director Earl Glaze will supervise the build.

“We built the Police Department in 2005-2006, and had $50,000 worth of change orders, so we don’t have a critical need for it,”Marks said. “We have had an oversight person for fire stations, so we are very confident about our skill level.”

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