In moving city offices from the current City Hall building to the former Cortez Journal building on North Roger Smith Avenue, the City of Cortez is setting itself up for the long hall, City Manager Shane Hale said.
“I believe this will be City Hall for the next 50 years,” he said Tuesday.
Construction started in June to remodel the new, 27,000-square-foot building just south of the Cortez Rec Center. The $2.5 million construction is funded in part through a $2 million grant from the state Department of Local Affairs.
Hale said he expected the construction to be finished around December. The current City Hall is about 10,000 square feet, so the new building will be more than twice as large, he said.
The new building will feature a new council chambers, with a vaulted, suspended-cloud ceiling similar to the ceiling of the auditorium at Montezuma-Cortez High School, Hale said. Unlike the current council meeting room, meeting spectators at the new building will be much closer to council members, the city manager said.
“The new room will be more conducive to meetings,” Hale said.
Offices for administration, human resources, information technology, finance and building and planning will be in the new building. City Court also will be located there, with increased space for attorney-client meetings, Hale said. The entrance for the court will be on the west side of the building.
With lots of storage space and potential for a second story, there’s room to grow, Hale said. As much as 34,000 square feet of floor space could be occupied in the building sometime in the future, he said.
Several people from the police department and the rec center will move over to the new City Hall, so those other buildings will have some extra breathing space, too, Hale said.
Construction is on schedule and hasn’t exceeded the budget so far, Hale said. Fitting everything into a space that has already been built has been challenging, but the location is appealing for the city, he said.
“It’s exciting,” Hale said. “It’s good to consolidate and be set for the future.”