Council approves design of new city hall building downtown
By SHELLY WILKISON
Liberty Hill City Council members on Monday authorized an architect to move forward on plans to construct a new City Hall downtown.
Earlier this year, the City purchased the Holloway building on Loop 332 that was to be renovated and expanded for use by city administrative staff. In recent weeks, however, it was revealed that the building had major foundation and structural problems that were not discovered during the basic building inspection conducted prior to purchase. Council members were told that it would be more costly to renovate than it would to demolish the structure and start from scratch.
“We realized it would be prudent, and more cost effective to build a new building,” said Architect Don Eckols of Austin.
He said upon closer inspection of the building, the existing outside walls were not sound, which would require building up the structure of those walls. While affirming that the current building could be used and new construction added to the back to provide more space, Eckols said that option would be more costly than starting with something new.
Council members saw various elevations of a city hall design by Eckols that incorporated the “character of the (Holloway) building facade,” he said.
The tower, which will contain a staircase and elevator, will be an identifier for the downtown building. Other than the addition of the tower, the new building will keep the same floor plan as the existing structure, still using stucco on the facade, and adding wood and rock along with medal roofing.
Office space will be on the first and second floors, along with conference rooms and open-air space on the second floor.
The new construction is expected to be in the $650,000 range, he said. A concrete parking lot will be an additional $100,000. The City bought the Holloway property for $170,000.
“We’re creating a downtown atmosphere by our presence there,” said City Manager Greg Boatright. “I don’t have a hard time justifying our taking the building down and using new construction.”
Boatright said other buildings downtown were unavailable at a price the City could afford and none have off-street parking.
“That building has been there 70 years, and I feel better about doing new construction,” said Councilmember Wendell McLeod.
“I hope it will be the start of a process for (improvement for) our downtown,” said Boatright.
“It will build confidence in other building owners,” added Eckols.
Eckols said demolition of the existing Holloway building will begin in two to three weeks.