History uncovered at Fallon City Hall
November 10, 2016
Fallon City Hall's interior is getting a face-lift due to a renovation project currently under way.
The renovations have been focused on the offices of the City Clerk, the Engineer's Office and the Police Department.
So far, the project is most apparent in the City Clerk's offices; walls have been taken down to create one large room. According to Michael Miller, city engineer and Public Works director, the goal was to make the space more open and inviting. In the past, the office had a small chamber with a counter for customers and offices in the back; Miller recalled natural light was limited and it felt very closed in.
"The mayor and City Council … wanted to create a more open and inviting area for the customers [and] owners of the utility system to interact on a daily basis with the city," said Ryan Swirczek, deputy Public Works director.
City officials also feel the new design is more efficient. Mayor Ken Tedford said the old design required people to stand during the transaction and any waits; after the renovations, customers can sit and interact with the clerk through the whole process. He felt the new look was more at ease.
So far, the public's reception has been positive. Swirczek and Miller said people who have come in to pay their utility bills have been shocked at the change and like how it looks now.
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As of Nov. 2, all the furniture and decorations had been put back in the clerk's office. According to Tedford, the work there is finished.
"For the forseeable future, that's what it's going to look like," he said.
The engineer's office and police department are getting redone to reveal some of the history of the building. In both, the ceilings are being raised to reveal the original wood beams, and some of the plaster walls will be removed to show the original brick. Windows in the city's old jail, in what is now the squad room, are also being uncovered to show the barred windows.
"We're trying to bring some of the history, how the building was at one time, and trying to expose that," Swirczek said.
Tedford also noted the old squad room had very close quarters and little natural light. The renovations are being designed to correct both issues. The city clerk's offices are operating again and much of the demolition has been completed in the engineer's office and police department. There were some delays in late October, due to other projects, though Miller estimated they would be rebuilding the areas soon.
According to Miller, the project's original budget was $60,000 raised by different utility funds. At the time of press, information on any changes to the budget was unavailable.
The renovations are being done by a combination of city construction crews and Hamen Construction. The goal is to complete everything in time for the city's Christmas open house and tree lighting.
It's unknown whether the delays will impact the completion date. Tedford said delays come up and all they can do is try to cope with them. He noted, if they did have to delay completion past the open house, it would entice people to come back and see the new look.
There are also discussions about doing a small renovation to the courtroom. According to Miller, this project would uncover some of the brick and woodwork as well as a walled up window.