SAN ANTONIO – Almost three years after construction began, the renovation of San Antonio Town Hall is complete, and senior officials and council members are returning to a space that is both new and familiar.
“We have all the modern conveniences in there, but it still looks like the old town hall,” said deputy city manager Rod Sanchez, who oversaw the renovation.
The building was vacated in the summer of 2018 for a redesign and renovation, which included gutting the interior, redesigning and reallocating office space, improving security and adding a set of wide ramps accessible to disabled people at the front. The roughly $ 40 million project was completed more than a year behind schedule, although city officials are happy with the end result.
The town hall contains offices for the mayor and 10 council members, as well as the town clerk, town manager and some of the town’s best employees.
During construction, the mayor, members of the city council and the city manager temporarily moved into the Plaza de Armas building. Other staff members have moved to a modular building complex on Dolorosa Street. Now they are back.
“Everyone has been moved in – all of their boxes have been moved today,” Sanchez said. “So everyone should lie down for the rest of the week and, you know, get down on the ground running.”
The original building was built in 1888, Sanchez said, but it wasn’t occupied until 1889. It was renovated in 1927, when a fourth floor was added, and underwent a smaller restoration. In 1994.
However, Sanchez said there was “a plethora of issues” affecting the building, due to flooding, plumbing, electricity and people stuck in elevators.
“We assessed the building and it was decided, you know, that we had to bring the building up to code. And we said, “Well, let’s not just bring the building up to code, but modernize it,” Sanchez said.
Although Sanchez sets the final price for the redesign and renovation at around $ 40 million, he said they still have to reckon everything with the contractor.
“You know, there could be penalties for the contractor,” Sanchez said. “The entrepreneur also encountered difficulties with the work. So we have to sit down with them. We need to figure out what the final total is. And once we do that, we’ll take it to city council and ratify it, ”Sanchez said.
The city expected the project to be completed in February 2020, but Sanchez said there were a number of issues.
“You know, it’s an old building and you started to tear down the walls. They discovered a bunch of structural issues that they had to deal with, you know, we really wanted to preserve and we had to preserve the historic building. We had to preserve the integrity of the building, ”said Sanchez. “It was a big job. And I think it was more important than what the entrepreneur had planned. “
He also mentioned other issues, including the balance of the new air conditioning system, the commissioning of hot water and issues with excavation at a historic site.
“If they hit something that looked suspicious, they had to stop. We had to bring in an archaeologist and, you know, make sure we weren’t doing something we shouldn’t be doing, ”Sanchez said.
Beyond its offices, the town hall has rooms to host the meetings of the council committees and the “B sessions” of the municipal council, which are less formal and complete.
The first meeting in the newly renovated building is expected to be Session B on June 2, although as of Wednesday evening the meeting had yet to be added to the city’s online calendar.
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