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Renovations of new city hall expected to begin within 60 days

Matthew Lane • Aug 7, 2019 at 11:29 AM

KINGSPORT — Renovations to the Regions Bank building on Broad Street, which Kingsport plans to use as its new city hall, are likely to begin later this year, following action taken by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen on Tuesday.

This first round of renovations will take place on floors three through six with work likely beginning within the next 60 days. The cost came in higher than originally estimated — about $600,000. That’s due to the three original elevators needing to be replaced, along with the installation of a new emergency generator.

City leaders heard an update on these renovations during a work session Monday afternoon, along with the history behind the project and how all of the funding sources for the work will eventually fall into place.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

Last year, 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 is looking at ways to address the overcrowding issue 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.

Regions Bank is currently using the first two floors of its Broad Street location, but the bank will vacate the property once its new building at the corner of Center and Clinchfield is complete. Until that happens, Kingsport plans to renovate floors three through six of the Broad Street building for its eventual use.

THE LATEST ACTION

During its regular meeting Tuesday night, the BMA voted 7-0 to award the bid for the first phase of renovations to Construction Partners of Johnson City. The base bid came in at $3.18 million. Kingsport also accepted two alternate projects in connection with the renovation work: cleaning the existing duct work ($103,000) and upgrading the mechanical units in the data room ($32,300).

However, three other alternate projects bid out were rejected: renovating the engineering suite, replacing the cabinets in the break room and purchasing new receptacle covers. Ryan McReynolds, assistant city manager for operations, explained why the city chose not to go with these alternates.

“(Engineering) is in an existing building that fits them very well that we just renovated,” McReynolds said, adding the city would wait until the Shelby Street building sold before making space for them in the new city hall.

The cabinets in the break room, though dated, are still usable, and the replacing of receptacle covers was not deemed critical in the overall scheme of things.

DOLLARS AND CENTS

Including nearly $200,000 in budgeted contingency funds, the overall cost of the phase one renovations comes to just over $3.5 million. Kingsport currently has $4.36 million in funding available. An upcoming $3 million bond issuance later this year will give the city more than $3.8 million in the lead-up to phase two: the renovation of floors one and two in the Regions Bank building and the Justice Center renovations.

Phase two is estimated to cost $1 million and Justice Center renovations $2.3 million. That leaves Kingsport with about $525,000 to cover non-construction related expenses associated with city hall, such as furnishings, running fiber-optic cable to the building and improving the city’s archive filing system.

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