No More ‘Band-Aids’ For City Offices?

Council Seeks Proposals For Renovating Buildings On South Main Street

Posted: February 27, 2013

HARRISONBURG — City Council directed staff Tuesday night to issue a request for proposals for architectural and engineering services to renovate city offices downtown.

A space-needs study of the Municipal Building and Community Development Building just south of it on South Main Street included a proposal to add a second floor to the community development office.

All departments in the Municipal Building would move into the two-story structure. A future use of the Municipal Building has not been determined.

Architectural and engineering costs are expected to reach about $400,000. Those services should be finished in November.

 If council proceeds with seeking bids for construction, the project could cost another $7.5 million. Construction would begin next year.

The city has used the Municipal Building for offices since 1956. It’s no longer in suitable condition for government needs, however; lacks appropriate security features; and has several structural, electrical and mechanical problems, City Manager Kurt Hodgen said.

“We’ve applied Band-Aids for many, many years,” he said. “It’s probably in the worst condition of any building the city owns.”

The Municipal and Community Development buildings are basically neighbors, with only a narrow cut-through linking South Main and South Liberty streets between them. The former is 27,600 square feet, but almost half of it is unusable or does not meet current code, Hodgen said.

The two-story building would contain 30,000 square feet — 19,300 of it on the second floor — and include almost 4,000 square feet of extra space for future expansion and classrooms.

Departments to vacate the Municipal Building include information technology, the Office of the Commissioner of the Revenue, Registrar’s Office and Treasurer’s Office, which would have two drive-through lanes for the public in the renovated building.

The Community Development Building already holds offices for planning and zoning officials and contains council’s chambers.

Councilman Charles Chenault said he is “excited” that the space needs can be addressed without the city purchasing more land to build on.

Contact Preston Knight at 574-6272 or

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