At the Casper city council meeting on Tuesday, the council heard from Zulima Lopez, Parks, Recreation, and Public Facilities Director, about the improvements they hope to make to city hall.

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Lopez said that in March of this year, they had gotten five bids from various construction companies, however, they all ended up over $6 million, out of budget, meaning the city had to scale back on the changes.

City of Casper, Old Design
City of Casper, Old Design

Specifically, while the city is hoping to address issues related to ADA compliance, fire codes, HVAC, and lighting, it also hoped to add an additional building for the IT department and do extensive remodeling on the exterior.

Due to budget constraints, the city will instead be moving the IT department to the Casper Business Center, where the new police department will be located, and will be reducing the number of changes to the exterior.

City of Casper, New Design
City of Casper, New Design

Lopez said that they will still be making sure that the building is ADA compliant, the HVAC system is fixed, there is proper fire safety, and there will be one public entrance on the east.

The city projects the total cost for the project to be $4.5 million, but the council will first need to authorize an additional $183,821.85 to make the changes to the designs.

Vice mayor Bruce Knell said that he was hesitant to approve the project at a council meeting if the money wasn't there.

City manager Cartier Napier said in response that the money from the upcoming one-cent tax will help them get the project over the finish line.

"I'm not prepared to tell you that the remaining balance of the $2.6 million would be adequate to cover the full extent of even this revised version of the project," Napier said. "However, I do believe that with respect to the dollars and cents that are reserved for city hall in one-cent 17, that will help us get a long way towards completing a target dollar amount, and we have a couple of grant opportunities that we're really interested in, that we think would fit really nicely with aspects of this project as well. So I'm hopeful that council will let us take these steps to design a revised approach because we'd still have very significant issues with this building that we've got to deal with at some point in time."

Councilmember Jai-Ayla Sutherland asked about when they would get started on the project, and Lopez said that ideally, they would get the changes to the plan drawn up over the fall and winter to be ready for construction by the spring.

The council agreed at the end of the discussion to move forward and will be asking for formal consideration at an upcoming council meeting.

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