Needs for more space and renovations have led to consideration of a new building for Cleveland government.
Assistant city manager Melinda Carroll presented a conceptual drawing and outline of a possible facility during the Cleveland City Council’s strategic planning session. Carroll had been asked a few months ago to bring in an idea for consideration.
The main municipal building is at capacity, with 22 offices. An additional eight offices are housed in the municipal building annex. The engineering building also houses 14 offices.
The Webb building was donated to the city but is not being used.
Carroll said renovations are needed to the municipal building. Any renovations would require the offices be brought up to current safety codes, such as having a second entrance out of the Council room. The engineering building also has some issues. In addition to being used to capacity, Carroll said is not well-insulated, wasting money on heating and cooling.
A way to solve each of these issues would be a new building large enough to hold all the city offices.
The proposed new structure would be a three-story building on the location of the current building.
“Anything or everything could be revised,” Carroll said. “This is just something to give you a snapshot of what we could have.”
Major goals for the project are to keep the governmental offices downtown and to centralize the offices under one roof.
“We would like to have a one-stop shop if at all possible, to make it more available and convenient for citizens,” Carroll said.
She stressed that the information was very preliminary.
“This building that we would propose would provide a downtown centralized location,” Carroll said.
A drive-through window for accepting payments was also included in the preliminary plans. A green technology roof is also being suggested for the new building to help with energy efficiency.
The preliminary plan for offices include a Council room to seat 140 people on the four finance offices, collections offices and a reception area on the first floor. On the second floor the plan proposes housing the department of engineering and inspections, three general offices, public works department and a conference room for 20 people. The third floor would hold offices for Council members, city manager, mayor, assistant city manager, purchasing and payroll, human resources, safety and wellness director and parks and recreation.
“The facility that we are looking at is 20,000 square feet,” Carroll said.
The cost is estimated to be $6 million, according to architect Doug Caywood.
A basement-parking garage could also be worked into the plan. Councilman David May asked how many spaces could be included in such a garage. Caywood said a basement garage for the proposed facility could house 25 to 30 parking spots. The new building could have up to 40 employees working in it.
“If you put parking under it, how would you enter, from what street?” May asked.
“You could potentially come in off of Church and have one loop coming out to the parking lot … that way you don’t have a double ramp,” Caywood said
He said he had not really developed the idea of the parking garage under the building because he was unsure if it would be in the scope of the project.
The building could also free up space for parking because the annex would be demolished.
During the voting session, Councilman Richard Banks made a motion to auction off the Webb building to bring in some revenue for capital and service needs listed throughout meetings Monday. The motion was passed to approve auctioning off the building after discussing it with the donor. If construction of the new facility moves forward, some additional staff could be temporarily housed in the municipal building annex. However, other locations would have to be found for the rest, Carroll said.