According to the city’s projected timeline, some employees are scheduled to begin moving into the building this summer, with the remainder coming in by the summer of 2021.
Some of the renovations include new flooring, paint and ceiling tiles throughout the building, new elevators and a backup generator, modifications to a few of the offices and the construction of a new Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting space on the third floor.
The project also includes improving access to the parking lot for handicapped space and installing kiosks at the drive-thru location for patrons to use 24 hours a day. The drive-thru windows will not be manned, city officials have said.
The Times News recently took a tour of the building with city officials to see how the work is coming along, what areas are being renovated and to get an overview of where each department will be located once the new city hall is open.
Two years ago, the BMA approved the purchase of the Regions Bank building for $2.82 million. The deal included the six-story building and a 72-space parking lot on New Street.
The reason for the purchase? Kingsport was looking at ways to address overcrowding at the Justice Center and to bring all court functions — some of which are in city hall — under one roof. This will be done in a future project with a 2017 estimate coming in at $2.3 million.
City officials have said moving city hall to the bank building will improve the efficiency of city government by consolidating more than 100 employees from six offices to one location.
COST AND LAYOUT
Renovations on floors 3 through 6 began last fall and the work should wrap up in August or September. The cost of this phase is approximately $3.3 million. Phase 2 (floors 1 and 2) is estimated to cost $2.2 million, with work beginning in June and wrapping up by the end of the year.
Here’s what each floor of the new city hall will eventually house:
1st floor: Finance and Building
2nd floor: Planning, City Manager and Economic Development
3rd floor: BMA Room, Human Resources, Legal, Risk and Marketing
4th floor: Accounting and Payroll, Purchasing, Community Services
5th floor: GIS, Archives and Engineering
6th floor: Public Works Administration, MTPO, Information Services, Clinic
“There’s been some structural slowdown because of the separation of individuals, just getting away from each other. That’s definitely impacted their thru-put,” said Ryan McReynolds, deputy city manager. “But work is progressing well and we’re about 65% complete.”